Do you hate hunters and hunting? Does the idea of some slack-jawed neanderthal of a redneck/hick/hillbilly blowing the brains out of Bambi send you into a rage?
Hunting season is here and your jerk of a neighbor just loaded up his 4-wheeler with guns, bows, knives, and a 12-pack, heading off to the woods to end the lives of poor innocent creatures!
Can you believe that idiot?!
And, while steam is still coming out of your ears, do you sit down and think about the letter you're going to write to your congressman to ban hunting while you chow down on your plump juicy steak (or chicken or pork roast) dinner?
What are you thinking, cursing hunters for shooting a deer while you eat the flesh of a cow? Are cows less worthy of life than a deer?!
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not a vegan, or even a pescatarian. I don't believe humans were designed/evolved to live without eating animal protein. I actually tried vegetarianism for a while myself and my memory went down the tubes in hurry (which was really bad since I was in college at the time and my grades went to from a B+ average to more like a C). Yikes!
Besides myself, I personally have known several vegeterians, none of whom were healthy or even sane. That's not to say there aren't healthy and sane vegetarians out there. I just haven't personally known any so my experience with vegeterianism hasn't been a positive one.
Ok, so let me get back to the point.
I have met many people like you, who curse the idea of hunters and hunting while thinking it is perfectly fine to eat farm-raised beef, pork, and chicken. Heck, I was that way myself once. After all, that's what the cows and chickens are raised for, right? While ruthless hunters are just blowing the brains out of innocent animals for kicks, a gun in one hand and a beer in the other, laughing all the while, right?
Yeah, ok, if that's what you believe.
But actually hunters, at least the ones who eat what they kill, are doing less harm to animals and the environment than you are.
Wtf, you say!?
Yeah, really. Stop and think about it.
The most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane is animal agriculture or "factory-farming." According to EarthSave.org:
Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled.
Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous.
So, you see, hunters who eat deer instead of factory-farmed cattle are doing more good for the environment than you are.
I know what you're thinking: "But, deers crap and fart too! Don't they release methane as well?"
Well, deer farts maybe. I don't really know. But not deer crap. Part of the problem with factory-farmed cattle is that there are millions of cattle all crammed together in pens (and if you've ever driven through central CA you'll know what I'm talking about) where waste accumulates in large quantities. In nature, deer crap is scattered sparsely throughout the woods. This gives it a chance to dry out rapidly and return to dust that nurishes the soil. In these factory-farm pens of cattle there is no room to scatter the waste sparsely, allowing it to dry. It accumulates knee-deep and rots, releasing huge amounts of methane in the process. Not only is this bad for the environment but the cows are probably miserable wallowing knee-deep in their own waste, too.
Which brings me to my second point. What about the lives of the animals you're eating? Which is worse off, the deer that roamed free and lived a natural life until the day a hunter's bullet took it down? Or the cow that was born wallowing in cow crap, living its entire short life crammed so tightly with other cattle it never had room to move or even lie down? This isn't just killing, as a hunter does to a deer. This is life-long torture. And the same goes for the way chickens and pigs are factory-farmed.
So next time you sit down to eat your meat-filled meal, think about the poor factory-farmed animals. If you can go vegan (and stay healthy and sane) then great! If not, I understand. But try to at least buy free-range meat, poultry, and eggs whenever you can.
And while you're eating your free-range chicken dinner, try not to hate your neighbor-hunter who's eating venison next door. That deer probably lived a happier, healthier, more natural life than your farmed chicken ever knew.
(For more information on factory farming and what you can do to help stop the cruelty visit FactoryFarming.com and FarmSanctuary.org)