I am not reading this whole thread, but Chris, you seem like in a crisis.
Simply put for me:
I am NOT vegan to save animals, or to stem the tide of horrible atrocities towards animals, humans, and the environment. I do not pretend that my vegan life is anything more than "spitting in the forest fire" as you put it.
I do not believe that any "consumer" action such as a personal boycott of animal products will change the market.
However, I have experienced making significant changes in the institutions around me, and I've experienced making even bigger changes when I work collectively with others.
Changing the relationship between humans and the environment/animals/each other is why I am alive.
My veganism is about me. I am happiest with myself when I live as ethically as possible. For me, that means being vegan. It is easy, convenient, healthy, and it sends a political message that animals are not food/toys/products. As a lone consumer, I don't think that my action will have any impact other than to create a market niche for me and other vegans. No net animals will be saved. No more humans will have fair working conditions and wages.
That is what my ACTION and my life is for.
I am not *just* a consumer, I am a participant and actor in the world around me. I am a friend, a citizen, a human being. Thus, if I see my veganism as solely a consumer construct (what I consume and don't consume), then that is the limit of my veganism. If I see my whole self as more than just a consumer, but also a person who's responsibility is to directly act on the world around me through direct action, political organizing, community organizing, and other means, then my veganism is the first step in dismantling animal oppression.
To me, it seems that your crisis is because you understand that a consumer action is limited, and a consumer action cannot remedy that huge problems caused by animal and environmental exploitation. Thus, you need a broader goal than just not consuming.
A person can do more to change things for the better when they are alive. When looking at things as solely a consumer, then the only option to save the world is to die. When we take responsibility, then the option is to dismantle the institutions and have humans take responsibility and live ethically. That would mean dismantling hegemonic market capitalism (IMO), but that way we all thrive.
"The worker has the right to leave his boss, but can she do it? And if she does quit him, is it in order to lead a free life; where she will have no master but herself? No, she leaves to sell herself to another employer. She's driven by the same hunger. Thus the worker's liberty is only a theoretical freedom, lacking any means of realization; an utter falsehood."