While animal cruelty is sad, I've made the decision to quit red meat for the environment. Obviously, other animal agriculture also affects the environment, but not at a rate like beef.
I think if I 'loved' animals the way other people do, it'd make it easier to go full vegan. The truth is, I'm lazy. I'm not hooked on meat and dairy products, I just haven't taken the time to learn. As you mentioned above, I was never taught it.