Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Hunting: Taking the Mystery Out of the Meat

this article originally appeared in
By: Tianna Burke, University of Waterloo
Bambi. As a child that movie always struck a bittersweet chord in my heart: The helpless fawn losing its mother to the horrible, insensitive, murdering hunter. I learned that hunting was bad, and that hunters killed innocent animals for sport. Almost two decades later, I am confronting those biases and deciding for myself what I think about hunting.
My omnivore’s dilemma
I began with a little bit of research and an honest look at my lifestyle. My main dietary dilemma became clear: how do I become a sustainable omnivore? Documentaries such as Food Inc opened my eyes to the negative side effects of industrial meat processing. Fortunately, there are options for eating meat sustainably, such as choosing free range animals, supporting local farmers and keeping your own chickens. Some people also choose to hunt.
In Defense of Animals (IDA) gives us an idea of the number of animals that are being slaughtered to fill our grocery stores and fast food kitchens. For example, six billion chickens are killed every year for the American poultry market.
Respecting the animal

Tianna practicing her shot. Photo: Stuart David
Hunting cuts out the middle person between you and the meat you want to eat. You become a part of the entire process, gaining an intimate knowledge of the animal’s biology as you learn how the animal lives, its behavior and habits, how to hunt and kill respectfully and painlessly, and how to cut the meat and use the hide most efficiently. A sheer respect for the animal is gained, and you get the satisfaction which Georgia “Girl Hunter” Pellegrini aka ‘Girl Hunter’ describes as “paying the full karmic price of the meals you eat.”
The hunting community is one of the largest supporters of conservation efforts and environmental stewardship in Canada. The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), is the oldest and largest fish and wildlife conservation organization in Canada. The non-profit organization has donated millions of dollars to wildlife research,restoring habitats and provided educational materials to its members about different environmental issues.
Breaking stereotypes
Hunting is stereotypically viewed as an activity for older men. If you are a young man or a woman it is not a common hobby for your generation or gender, so many people refrain from taking it up. Some see hunters as sportsmen out for the largest buck or the fattest turkey. Although there are certainly those who hunt for sport rather than solely for food, it is against Canadian law to leave behind any hunted animal. A third common misconception is that hunting is a form of violent animal cruelty.
In reality, interest in hunting is growing among young people looking to change the way they eat and experience nature in a more hands on way, and also by women looking to do the same and defy gender stereotypes. By learning more about our food, we are able to make educated food choices to become the type of eaters, and omnivores, we want to be.
If you love nature, you want to be a part of it, protect it and care for it. Hunters know and support this frame of mind. If you find that you are having an omnivore’s dilemma, maybe this is a lifestyle choice for you.

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