So one of the many reasons to become vegan would be to stop animal cruelty. However this could also be done a non-vegan way, such as buying from only selected farmers. For example where I live, I'm lucky enough to have some around who keep their animals in really nice conditions (I see the animals every day). And sure the meat, eggs and milk cost more and not everything is available, but the animals are treated well and have a well cared for and long life. Wouldn't that be acceptable as well?
I think the fundamental problem with this kind of reasoning is that it works under a very restrictive and difficult to defend understanding of what “animal cruelty” means, namely, the definition that animal agriculture industries themselves made up. We can see how absurd this reasoning is when we look at specific examples of an animal being harmed. If we had a pig being punched or kicked, these farmers and presumably you would no doubt agree that this was clearly cruel. If however, that same pig has their throat slit or is shot in the skull with a captive bolt pistol, somehow this is not cruel.
I have never heard any even halfway decent defence for why this distinction is made, and no one has ever been able to offer me a logical justification for this blatantly self-serving definition. Are we honestly happy to work under a definition of animal cruelty which considers throat slitting and shooting perfectly acceptable? Would you be happy if that same definition were applied to pets? If not, why is it only cruel when done to specific species of animals? We certainly can’t argue that one form of cruelty is unnecessary and the other isn’t, since most of us can be perfectly healthy without consuming animal products, that means that all harm caused to farmed animals is unnecessary.
Farmers exist who don’t routinely deny their animals their basic needs, but there are some things aside from slaughter which are undeniably cruel. Cutting off an animal’s tail, searing their beak off or cutting off their horns are standard practice even on the best farms, as is castration which is usually done with no anaesthetic whatsoever. Killing undesirable offspring is cruel, separating mothers from their children is cruel, again, all standard practice.
Even if somehow you found some farmer who does none of these things (I have never seen any evidence that any such farmer exists) they would still be cruel because all the belly rubs and ear scratches in the world don’t make up for the fact that once they reach slaughter weight, a human who they have grown to trust will send them to their deaths, purely for profit. That, under any reasonable definition of the word, is cruel. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as an organic, free range slaughterhouse, and farmers have little to no control over how the animals they supply are slaughtered, at what speeds, or how they are transported, and licencing laws mean they are forced to make use of what are usually the exact same slaughterhouses that factory farmed animals end up in.
In short, no, that would not be acceptable. There is no such thing as a humane animal product, each and every one of them is the result of animal exploitation, cruelty, and usually slaughter. There is no humane way to kill someone who does not want to die, nor any harmless way to take what is not ours. Going vegan has never been more accessible, we don’t need to settle for the “lesser” of two evils by funding slightly less horrific animal cruelty, because most of us can choose to not fund it at all.