Forgive me for having given hunting a lot of thought lately. Killing things isn’t exactly the most socially acceptable activity nowadays, and I get that. It’s macho, ‘old-boys-clubish’, senseless, and so on. And it can be.
But it can also be one of the most intense connections with the food you eat. A steak of beef didn’t grow organically on a plant. Someone shot a cow in the head, slit its throat, gutted it, butchered it, and you’re eating that animal’s back muscle, more than likely – the one that runs down the sides of your spine. We have the same one. That’s the reality, and everyone knows that intellectually, but I don’t think you truly understand it until you either witness it or do it yourself.
I’m likely going to shoot a calf moose this fall. Now I’m guessing that’s going to be pretty tough to do, morally. The calf will likely be with it’s mom, and the mom will mourn the loss, and it’s all one shitty mess as far as that goes. But the way I see it, going to the store and buying veal is no different. That was a cow’s calf. Thinking there’s no emotional attachment between the two is crap. Even geese – if you shoot one out of a pair, the other will circle, honking, looking down for his buddy for a good while before getting the hell out of danger. It’s sad. It is. But it’s one of the crappy parts of being an omnivore with compassion. One of the many curses of being a human.
So I’ll feel like hell when I shoot a calf, but at least I’ll understand the importance of the meat. Buying a veal chop is as easy as buying a head of lettuce. No bad feelings there. I’m not suggesting that everyone should hunt – not even close. I’m just suggesting you consider that killing the animals you eat is actually normal, and in ways, more respectful to the animal, than being disconnected from the harsh realities of what needs to happen for humans to eat meat.