Well... this now raises the question if every being is equal then why not eat meat? I have been trying very hard to cut it out of my diet but I have stomach problems and need to keep healthy. But I am trying to cut down on the meat... so as long as I do my best.
If we are aware of the fact that commercial farming in terms of numbers kills far more creatures than the meat industry then why not eat meat? We need sustinance, that is no lie. I know this is a big ol' can of worms. But I suppose if you can try to cut a few lives out of your diet by not eating meat then I've answered my own question... any ideas?
I read somewhere that kilo for kilo, meat requires about seven times the resources needed for agriculture. So they can't be described as "equal"--meat is something on the order of seven times worse. On the other hand, Buddhism stands to benefit from the insights of modern ecological thinking, which it has not yet really integrated. Ultimately, we cannot save animals from suffering, any more than we can save humans from suffering. Recognizing that, how can we be more compassionate, and allow as many as possible to live out their natural lives (whether as predators or as prey) in a balanced ecosystem? (Predators are actually necessary, and good for the prey.)
On the medical issue, what particular problems does vegetarianism cause? If some meat turns out to be medically necessary for you, then I would say not to fight it (though one might research alternative sources of enzymes or whatnot). There is a long Buddhist tradition of vowing to avoid killing (or eating meat) on some auspicious days, but not every day. I even recall a sutra in which a butcher took precepts, but only at night. His co-religionist, a prostitute, took them only during the day. After they died, one went to hell and the other to heaven, and then they switched places every 12 hours!