I have spoken about this topic many times, and it always seems to get me fired up. First of all, the term, ethical kill, seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron. I mean really, have we so jaded our minds, to say there is a correct way to kill? A kill is a kill, simple as that. It can be swift and clean, or all fouled up. At the end of the day, it is merely one being taking another’s life, to sustain it’s own. Having a conscience, and having emotions and feelings, have really messed this task up for us humans. If you eat meat you are presently or by absence a killer. I know this seems blunt, and maybe I could have buttered it up by appealing to emotions. Ethical killer, sacrificial killer, Moral killer, hmm Justified killer. Then again we could go the other way slaughtering monster killer….. well you get the point. Seriously, if you can find it in your DNA and can stomach it, we (most of us) are all just killers.
From a carnove standpoint, it is wired into our genes. Sad but true. There is actually still scientists that argue over our taxon classification. Though, we are classified as omnivores, many scientists think we should be carnivores in classification. I tend to think they are correct. While we can sustain on vegetables and other plant matter. We don’t “need” lots of it. Sure, it aids in being healthier with vitamins and minerals. It is also a must to fend of certain diseases, like scurvy. Yet, only meat provides the true protein. Wait what? Yes it’s true. Ask a vegetarian, or even a true vegan, why they eat so many different types of protein? It’s because they must, to maintain health. Without supplements and meat, if they ate, lets say only black beans, at some point they would have issues. A lack of certain amino acids to be exact. This is because all natural grown proteins are incomplete. The only complete protein is plain and simple flesh. Meat is what our bodies are built to handle well, and since most things that grow, we call dietary fiber. I generally think that we are misclassified as well. Fact is that while fibrous materials can sustain life…life is easier to maintain with the complete protein of meat.
Now, this is not a get out of jail free card on eating veggies at the table. For truly optimum health, roughage, carbs, and vitamins all play a role. Let’s look at this more closely. If we ate like animals (which my wife debates with me that we aren’t) we would eat the whole animal. Fur,skin, entrails, organs and bones. My argument will be hypothetical, (cause I just haven’t been able to find information of nutritional values of fur,eyes, entrail, etc.). I hypothesize, that if we (humans) ate the entire animal, our lacking of nutrients and vitamins would be minimal. (pulling the parachute on this rabbit hole) We don’t, so we need our veggies also. 🙂 We will revisit this topic, once I get my hands on some decent information.
So, dna, vegetarian, and veganism aside, let’s get down to the meat of this story. The ethical harvest of protein. Some argue that hunting is cruel, unethical, barbaric and sooooo on. I really think I could fill the whole page with adjectives that people have thrown in my direction over the years. The irony is, I would listen to them at lunch, over dinner, at camp, and so on. They attempt to dismantle my passion for the outdoors, as I watched them sink their, flesh severing cuspids, into steak, burgers, pig sandwiches and fish……. This became almost a joke to me, maybe even a form of entertainment. I would fuel their argument with subtle banter, almost like a nice planned stalk. Then, right when they thought they had me converted I hit them with my blunt persuasion. My rebuttal may have varied, depending on the situation, but the crude bluntness usually stayed intact.
“You know, I never thought about it this way (insert name here). This is a very intriguing angle. You are absolutely correct, and I most certainly should have known that you were a Hypocrite.” I utilized the time as they were gasping for air to defuse it a little. “Now, I heard you out, and I, at one time thought just like you. Please just hear me out and I’ll explain this remark.” Settled down now I would explain, that just because you didn’t shoot, kill, stab, slash, or electrocute it, by eating meat you own some of the kill right to the animal.
Their argument almost uniformly , is that the animal was ethically killed. This is absolute freaking B.S. Even animals that are hit in the head with a hammer aren’t, in my opinion ethically killed
How’s that? The act of the kill may be swift and clean, but the inbred animal, that was raised in captivity solely for the purpose of making money, could never be ethical. First the breeders, who pump them full of hormones, and antibodies…. lets say drug them. Then many times they are sold and sent to finishers. Who, (these guys are great), limit their mobility and force feed them so that they can become gluttonous slobs of animals. Oh yeah, but they are worth so much more money with perfect marbling. The ethical treatment of these animals, went out, when we(humans) tampered with natural selection in the various species. They are just money making herbivores. In essence, how can their kill be ethical if the lives were not. Furthermore, for those of you that think the process slaughterhouses use is ethical please go here. [button link=”www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE2svQFH_q0″]Meet your meat[/button] I MUST WARN YOU, THIS IS VERY,VERY STRONG STUFF. I COULDN’T EVEN WATCH THE WHOLE THING. IT IS VERY DISTURBING. Yet, it is the truth, and as long as the food you eat is about money, you don’t actually know how it was killed.
Then there is the hunter, like myself my comrade, partner, or buddy, that questions my methods of taking game. They are as follows:
1. With gun, head shot. Well actually, back of the head between the first and second vertebrae.
2. with bow, used to be head shot, Then I had one go horribly wrong….. Let’s just say I hit a perfect shot through the back of the head and the buck didn’t die. It took 14 days to get another shot on him. Tracking every day was awful. The arrow never came out so…. well it was just a bad time. So now it’s heart shots.(only use bow, so I can tag out before duck season)
With a shotgun. Largest pellets I can use without wasting too much meat. Two reasons for this. first less pellets usually less waste. Second, I am frankly sick of people using too small of shot, and wounding birds. Hugh?
Well, if I hit a duck at 20 yards with BB and lets say only one pellet gets him. He’s going down. If I were using lets say size 6, he’s going to fly for two or three miles then die. Yes, I waterswatt, yes a grouse/dove on a branch is gonna die. Woodcock on a stump, sounds great. Pheasant or quail on the ground yeppers. See I’m a numbers guy. Would I rather wound 5 birds and bag 6, or just bag 6 with six shots. (never happens). Obviously, the latter makes more sense, but many say it’s not sporting. I say all those “misses” aren’t misses, and your 6 birds just cost the ecosystem 15 or more.
How do you support that statement James? Well, any avid bird hunter that says he hasn’t plucked another hunters, healed pellet out of a bird, is simply being dishonest, or just didn’t find it until it hit their chompers. At which they mistakenly take it for one of theirs. I see many wounded ducks every year. Broken wings, legs, necks, etc. Still suffering, and fighting for life. It’s really quite compelling, and sad at the same time. This animal, have the fortitude to live with gun shot wounds, with no medical care indefinitely, we don’t have the decency to take high percentage shots with large enough loads. Go big or go home I say.
3 Everything else:
Head or neck plain and simple. Small game, vitals works in some situations, but head is instant and definitive. Absolutely, no suffering, and if you miss…..well
The question asked by hunters is always, why don’t you just shoot the vitals. It’s a quick clean humane kill. Hmmm, the last time I checked the average Whitetail runs about 100 yards with a vital shot. These last hundred yards of adrenalin filled panic are followed with generally a few seconds of calm shallow breathes, then the animal surcomes. In my opinion, this is not humane, or ethical, and my first question is, What happens when you miss the vitals. “Uhhh….. well I don’t miss often. :-)”
See the nice thing about a head shot. Instant, no pain, panic or any of the other, and if you miss, well two things happen. Either you miss completely, and the prey lives on for another day. Or you sever the spine, and you have to rack another shell to finish the kill. Either way (in my opinion, again) more ethical and humane. Now this doesn’t mean everyone needs to go Rambo either. Just surgical precision with your weapon and your conscience will thank you in the long run.