but then when you look at another viewpoint, many people in India find it cruel and disgusting...even sac-religious, that we eat cows. In some parts of the world, even rats are considered sacred and nobody would ever think of exterminating them.
Exactly. If you look at how pigs - which are very intelligent animals who certainly have feelings - are treated with great cruelty in the Western world, we really have no room to criticize anyone else, just because we have chosen certain species to be "pets".
Animals will aways be eaten, but it wouldn't be difficult to treat them more humanely prior to killing them.