In case you’re just tuning in to this blog for the first time, one thing that’s been clearly established here is: hunting sucks. But, believe it or not, there is one thing I have to thank hunters for. In trying to defend their brutality by pointing out the hypocrisy of my eating farmed animals, they inspired me to completely swear off meat.
That was fourteen years ago, and I haven’t regretted going vegan for a moment since then. Not that there was anything profound in their observation, but I had to agree, there’s no real ethical difference between eating wild “game” and animals bred and raised for food. And as a wolf and a pig are both on similar intellectual and emotional planes, how could I object to wolf hunting and trapping while chowing down on a BLT?
I hate to see a deer or elk shot, killed and carted off in the back of some hunter’s pickup, but by the same token it’s saddening to see a cow loaded up into a “livestock” trailer and sent to the slaughterhouse. Deer, elk, bison or free-range cattle all have a comparable life experience and their untimely deaths are similarly harsh and unnecessary (especially unnecessary considering humans can and do get by quite happily and healthfully without eating meat). There are no factory farms in my vicinity, but there are cleared pastures where people raise cows for the market. (If you don’t know what factory farms are—those nightmarish death camps where most grocery store and restaurant meat is produced—please read up about them on one of the many great websites out there.)
At first glance a pastoral scene of cows moving freely about (within the confines of barbed wire or electric fences, of course) and grazing on grass may seem idyllic, but one recognizable sign of abuse is that their horns have been cut off and large, yellow or red plastic I.D. tags have been stapled into their ears. Another is the mournful mooing of a dairy cow whose newborn calf has been snatched from her and locked away in a tiny pen or veal crate. And let’s not forget the cruelty of branding…
Any semblance of freedom ends the day they find themselves on a crowded, frightening drive to the stockyard in preparation for slaughter. Now suddenly cows who have never known confinement are being forced into a horrendous industrial plant, where the pervasive smells of blood and fear mixing with the sounds of other terrified animals and saw blades are the last things they’ll ever experience.
Although we may suffer painful losses in the grueling battle to end sport hunting, by going vegan we can at least share in the satisfaction of knowing we no longer contribute to the miserable deaths of countless sentient beings.