Someone I come in contact with on a regular basis got into a conversation with a gentleman regarding his love for hunting. Her view is that even though he consumes the deer he kills, the fact that he seems to get joy out of taking a life makes the act of hunting wrong. To her credit, he does get joy out of hunting, but I believe that anyone who builds up their skill enough to handle a weapon and kill a deer would find joy in the fact that they were able to take down that animal and provide food for their family. It would be different if he was killing deer and letting them sit and rot in the woods, but they are taken and processed and consumed by his family and friends.
I feel that this is a common misconception among a certain class of animal lover. Vegans and certain vegetarians who have a moral issue with the consumption of meat have every right to object to hunting because they are living a lifestyle free of animal meat and are doing their part to stop the slaughter of animals for consumption, whether it be a big gesture or something as small as refusing to eat it. Those of us who eat meat, however, don’t really have the right to protest a hunter feeding his family just because we feel bad for Bambi. You can’t say hunting a deer is wrong but then order some fried chicken from KFC, a triple meat pizza from Papa John’s, or a meaty Italian sub from Subway.
Yes, there are some hunters out there who make the rest of them look bad; those who get joy out of the kill and leave the animal sitting unused, those who break laws so they can enjoy a kill, and those who hunt out of malice. For the most part though, hunters are out there to feed their family or to control the population of a certain type of animal, protected by law and doing nothing wrong. They are no doubt proud of their skill in hunting and killing an animal, but I hardly see the average individual taking joy in seeing an animal lose its life. It takes a twisted individual to find joy in slaughter and it’s unfair to assume most hunters have that mindset.
I would much rather eat a chicken that a farmer slaughtered at his farm than a chicken from Tyson. I lived near a Tyson plant in high school in Georgia and it put me off eating chicken for quite some time. The poor chickens were crammed onto the beds of semi trucks, half of them dead or near death by the time they made it to the plant. The treatment of those chickens and of the majority of the animals that make it to our dinner table is horrifying. Cows that can’t stand because they are fattened up and have no room to move, barns filled with turkeys who are packed in as tightly as possible with no space to run around; it’s disgusting.
Hunting is a much more humane process than the process the majority of our meat goes through. The hunted animal has been roaming free in the wild, just as free range animals on a farm, eating a proper diet and free of chemical processing. The hunted animal did not have careless workers present to abuse it or keep it locked in a small confined space where it could not flourish. The hunted animal had a much better life and will be in much better shape when it reaches the dinner table. If you’re against hunting, that’s fine, but you can’t say you’re against it and still eat meat, feigning ignorance of where it comes from.
Ben Starr has a wonderful blog with great views on this topic. Food Inc. is also a wonderful resource for information. If you’re going to object to hunting and the slaughter of animals, do your research. Find out where your food comes from. Understand that it’s not just fast food restaurants that dish out subpar meats, it’s nearly everywhere. Protesting something is great, but make sure you’re protesting the right thing and make sure you’re living by example and not just crying over Bambi getting shot as you enjoy a steak at Outback.