Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's hunting got to do with respecting animals?

An excellent discussion is going on over at NorCal Cazadora's Blog

Question du jour: What's hunting got to do with respecting animals?

I did a radio interview last week with Radio Netherlands Worldwide about hunting as an alternative to buying factory-farmed meat, and after I left the studio, I couldn't stop thinking about this one word that I'd kept saying in reference to meat and animals: "respect."

In particular, I talked about how much more I respected animals since I started hunting. I've said that many times before, but in this interview, I also talked about how I grew up in a family that raised animals for meat.

Afterward, that left me wondering: Taking responsibility for killing animals that provide your meat increases your respect for the food they provide. But why was it that hunting increased my respect for the animals themselves?

Read more and join the conversation


  1. Belatedly (sorry, work is kicking my butt), thanks for the link!

  2. this is a comment to a post over on the Alaska Outdoor forum

    I also "thank" the animal, and recognize all that it took for that animal to exist and thrive where it did.

    I like what Jim Posewitz has to say too, regarding "Ethics after the Shot":
    Earlier in this book we said, "If there is a sacred moment in the ethical pursuit of game, it is the moment you release the arrow or touch off the fatal shot."

    To this we add the idea: If there is a time for reverence in the ethical hunt, it is when you claim, or accept, what you have killed.

    For a hunter, this can be the most serious and meaningful moment of the hunt. The significance is the same whether you are claiming a grizzly bear in the wildest country left on earth, a cottontail rabbit in a tiny woodlot, or a duck from a wet retriever that is shaking from its own excitement of the moment.

    What you have before you is a wild animal, and it is the product of many things. It is an appropriate time to pause and appreciate what has just taken place. You have taken an animal in a hunt. It has come to you:

    * through the land and the trials of natural selection,
    * through the efforts of people who protected your opportunity to hunt,
    * through conservation programs that restored wildlife to a depleted land,
    * through land management efforts that protected the place where you stand,
    * through wildlife management programs that insure wildlife harvest is balanced with wildlife production, and
    * through those people who taught you to hunt and hunt safely.

    The animal lying at your feet or resting in your hand contains all of these things. If any one of them were missing, or were to disappear, you would be standing alone and both your heart and your hand might be empty.

    Mark Richards

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