Warning: this post may not be for everyone. It talks about hunting, and about raising animals for meat.
The NYT article in the link is about a book written by the so-called “new breed” of hunter. Nice try, but I don’t see anything new – with the possible exception of better marketing.
The claim is that they hunt for “adventure, communion with nature, physical activity, a love of process and acquired skill, and a desire for an intimate connection to one’s food.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard this from hunters. Do they have to memorize and recite this refrain when they apply for their hunting tags?
Shooting something from 50 yards away is NOT intimate.
All the other things you can get without killing anything. All of them.
I raise some of my own food – we live in an area that is marginally suitable for growing grass, so that food comes in the form of animals. We take care of our food from birth to death. We raise them, care for them, and for some of them, we ultimately eat them. This may seem hypocritical, but I’ve always had issues with hunting. I suppose that so long as you don’t damage the ecosystem AND that you make sure you use EVERY part of the thing you have killed, it might be OK. Maybe. But don’t give me any of that junk about communing with nature, or wanting to have ‘natural’ meat.
But DON’T tell me the meat is better. I’ve seen deer wandering the fields minutes after those fields have been sprayed with lord knows what. How’s that natural? You often have no way of knowing the age of the animal you just shot. Make no mistake, the way we treat most food animals in modern “agribusiness” is nothing short of monstrous, but hunting is often no less cruel.
How many hunters are skilled enough to drop their target first time, every time?
Don’t even get me started on hunting birds. Most wild birds barely have enough meat on them for a sandwich.
Every season we have people hunting on our neighbour’s lands. Every season we have people who come and park at the end of our driveway to watch the deer and moose. Our neighbour, who owns those lands has a right of course, but it’s hard to tell whether or not all the others have been invited to be there or are planning their next poaching expedition. We get a fair amount of that.
When we come across a vehicle we don’t recognize, we still go down and have a chat with them. We make sure they’ve been invited by our rancher neighbour. We also invite them to join us the next time we butcher. We even offer to let them KEEP some of what they kill. We can GUARANTEE that the animals are healthy and that the meat will be tender. We have never had a single one accept our offer. NOT ONE.
So, seems to me, it is NOT about procuring clean meat for the table, like so many hunters claim. I suspect many of them would be far less interested if they had to look after the animals every single day – no matter the weather, in sickness and in health. I suspect that many of them couldn’t really look the animal in the eye, right up close, and then dispatch it by hand. THAT’s how you pay “the full karmic price” for your meal. Not with a gun.
I suspect many of them would be considerably less brave if they couldn’t stand behind a big lethal weapon.
It’s NOT easy to kill the animals we raise. Taking a life should NEVER be easy.
If if ever stops being hard for you to kill something – SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.