The thing I find hard and have struggled with for years is the things I've seen in animal doco's (well after i decided to become vego) and with my own eyes after rescuing chickens from a factory farm etc. and to be honest it haunts me still. I won't ever eat meat but I have such an affinity with animals and i find the intolerable cruelty some of them face before they get to our plate very distressing. Its hard to explain but it's something I think about a lot and it's great that things are slowly changing but it does upset me still, a lot. So I want to protect my child from all of that until he's well old enough to understand, if that makes sense. I think it's very important to tell him where his meat comes from when he's of the right age but I don't want to mare his childhood with too many home truths. I want to teach him to respect animals, all animals not just dogs and cats. I'll want to spend time at farm stays etc. or hopefully have our own so he can be around chickens, cows, sheep etc. and realise if he does eat them we have to have respect for them and treat them kindly. I don't want him to know the horrors of factory farming etc. Until his psyche is old enough to cope with that which will be quite a long time.
Great thread because this isn't easy stuff when you feel so strongly about it. I want to try to find a way for my child to know when the time is right, why i am vegetarian and in the mean time, teach him to respect animals, especially the ones he eats. That may be easier said than done though!