For a utilitarian the question is not about lives but rather about pleasure/pain (or preferences). According to Gaverick increases in consumption will lead to increased factory farming. Given the assumption that factory farming leads to more suffering than pleasure, perhaps much more, we get the conclusion that the more effective human charities (charities targeting poor humans) are the more disutility we will get.
This especially relates to effective mechanisms for charity such as GWWC which get considerable support among many utilitarians. Although it has seemed to me earlier that it is more important to use one's own resources on other matters, such as avoidance of existential risk and reducing suffering among animals I still supported effective human charities very much. After all, it seemed like their work was very good, even if not optimal. Better to save many human lives, than doing nothing. It also seemed possible to get some low hanging fruit by convincing people who would not be prepared to contribute to other causes to give to human charities. But if there really is a conflict such efforts are worse than useless - they are harmful.
There is some relevant information regarding the problem in this article-summary: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 074425.htm
The authors argue that poor people need more meat to get better health. They also predict an increased milk consumption (and presumably meat consumption) in the developing world:
"The authors note, for example, that although annual consumption of milk in the developing world is expected by 2050 to rise from an average of 44 to 78 kilograms per person, this is still far less than the 202 kilos per person consumed today in wealthy countries."
One interesting point is that most of the contemporary animal-farming in poorer parts of the world seem to be small scale. Plausibly, these animals suffer far less than factory farmed animals, and may even produce positively to the total happiness (unless outweighed by wild animals).
"According to the ILRI study, most livestock operations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are far from industrial. Livestock are either raised on small farms where they feed largely on leaves, stalks and other non-edible remains of food crops, or are herded over marginal lands unsuited for crop cultivation by pastoralists in search of grass."
But perhaps increased meat consumption among the poor will in any case primarily lead to increased factory farming, and not small scale farming (Gaverick seemed to think so). The authors of the cited paper seemed to suggest that what the poor needed is increased "productivity" in third-world animal farming, which could be taken as a sign of that.
However, as Pablo Stafforini mentioned in conversation it might be premature to stop supporting human charities (and similar causes) for this reason. Rather, it seems like the best way to proceed on this question would be to look for an effective way of helping the poor without increasing their meat-eating. Do people like Toby Ord or Peter Singer know about the problem? One would think that especially someone like Singer would be prepared to take it seriously. The possible ways to work further on the issue that I've thought of this far are (except discussing it here in Felicifia):
A. Email Toby and/or Singer
B. Write a post on the GWWC forum.
Also, anyone have any ideas of ways of improving the situation for the world's poor without increasing meat-eating?