Hunting, the ethical choice

I was reading an article on Slate called “Hipsters who Hunt“, about liberal urban hunters in the US. Numbers are increasing as people realise the taste and health benefits of free range animals.

There is something satisfying in going out and getting tasty food for your family with your own resourcefulness..and when you get to taste the difference you wonder why you don’t do it more often.

If you eat meat, eating animals you hunt yourself is a more ethical alternative than eating those from the current industrial agricultural system. Rather than being?confined in small enclosures and dosed?with antibiotics and antidepressants, wild birds and mammals have been leading lives very similar to those their species have been living for thousands of years (though featuring more corn, soy, and suburban refuse, generally speaking). And instead of outsourcing their deaths to an underpaid slaughterhouse employee, you do it yourself, which seems somehow most honest. …

Getting your meat from outside the industrial food system is also?better for the environment. Wild game isn?t fed on tons of grain that used excessive water, land, and fossil-fuel-based synthetic fertilizer. They aren?t clustered in ?concentrated animal feeding operations? that produce toxic and terrible-smelling lagoons of manure.

As we have become more urbanised a great many skills have been lost, and also a number of stereotypes have arisen about hunters:

There?s another facile belief that the new kids in the duck blind need to jettison: the idea that all hunting is somehow the cultural property of jerky guys with big trucks and a fondness for the country music and Republican candidates. The cartoon of the red-state hunter has held back many people who would enjoy hunting and find in it a good solution to their ethical and environmental concerns. These people felt, somehow, that hunting was not what their ?tribe? did. Yes, lots of hunters are conservatives. But many political conservatives are ethical and environmental hunters who deeply respect the animals they hunt. And there have always been plenty of liberal hunters.

The author states that she knows plenty of urban, lefty hunters…same here…and the beauty of hunting with them is when you are in the blind, or scoping out some Reds you talk about other stuff like velocity, bullet drop, scopes and calibres…but even in that conversation there is politics at play…which makes it all the more enjoyable.

Then of course there are the greenies…

Besides, hunting is green. Hazel Wong, a senior policy adviser at the Nature Conservancy, told me that to pass environmental legislation at the state level, ?believe it or not, we work with hunting groups a lot.? I wasn?t surprised. Conservation in America was practically founded by hunters. Yellowstone was first envisioned as a giant game reserve that would create big populations of animals that hunters could nab as they spilled out over the boundaries. Our first conservation-minded president, Teddy Roosevelt, mowed down untold hundreds of animals in his long career as a sport hunter. And ?hook and bullet? organizations continue to fight for land protection. You see, you need nature to go hunting. And hunters?liberal and conservative?generally like nature. That?s why they are out in it.

I tried to have this conversation once with Russel Norman, but he was having none of it. He is silly and so are most of the Greens…they should get onside with hunters not try and vilify them. We want clean rivers, and clean land, and nice forests…where they want nothing but birds we want some critters…but we want those critters to be living in a clean environment.

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