An Omnivore’s Dishonesty

I am not a hunter. I often say I have no opposition to those who hunt, but it is unenthusiastic support. There is some resistance or insincerity to it.

Now, after reading several interesting books, I have to wonder if those who hunt are more supportive of a humane treatment of animals than those who try to stop them.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind describe the world of food production in all its cruel and mechanistic gory. From dairy cows restrained in pens, forced into continuous pregnancy to increase milk production, to conveyor belt chicks being sorted by gender and physical quality (the males and malformed are destroyed to maximize egg output) the food most of us consume comes from concentration camp levels of horror.

No one would argue that animals experience joy and sadness.  Anyone who has ever had a dog knows this to be true. The animals we have bred or, more accurately, genetically modified, are enslaved in a world devoid of any joy or happiness. They are the raw material of production to satisfy the needs of one race of beings, humans.

Now there are exceptions to this. The small family dairy or beef farms that care for their animals. Cage-free poultry farms that raise their birds in a more open environment. But the overwhelming amount of dairy and beef and pork and ham come from an Orwellian world of total control to maximize growth in the shortest amount of time with high yields.

Devoid of any opportunity to live.

A hunter pursues a creature born into its natural environment. It has the opportunity to live a life for which the species evolved. And, if it is ultimately harvested by the hunter, it is then used in a much more natural way than mechanized food concentration camps.

The end result may be the same. The creature is still dead.  But I can’t help but think there is something infinitely more natural about this.

I have to wonder how many of us who enjoy a good steak or ham or chicken dinner would be able to dispatch one of these animals, gut it, clean it, and then eat it.

My guess would be not many.

Perhaps we need to redefine what humane means. Change the sign to “Billions and Billions executed to satisfy your appetite.”

I do not have the answer.

The overwhelming demand for food at low cost is hard to ignore. But maybe, if we understood the cost to those creatures we consume by thinking about such things, we might realize that because something is affordable does not make it without some great cost. To ourselves and our fellow creatures.

Next time you feel revulsion about seeing a deer strapped to the roof of a car, think about this.  The only difference between you and that hunter is he or she had the courage to go out and face the creature, kill it, and bring it home to eat.

You hired mercenaries to do your dirty work, wrap it in plastic, and conceal it in the grocery bag in the trunk of your car.

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