Vegans—Not Hunters—Are the Best Environmentalists

Originally posted on April 22, 2012

You’ve probably heard the cliché, “Every day is Earth Day to an environmentalist.” Well, it’s true actually, at least to a true environmentalist—the kind of person who makes daily choices based solely on their concern for our planet and the life it supports. The gal, for example, who chooses not to eat farmed animals because of the enormous amount of abuse (not to mention gargantuan carbon footprint) inherent in those Styrofoam and shrink-wrapped packages that clog the sprawling meat isles across the country; or the guy who does not hunt because wild animals are a part of the living Earth he loves and respects.

Eager to look like the sensible ones, conventional environmentalists often assume the wobbly, half-hearted stance of dismissing, rather than embracing, the animal rights movement. On the other hand, dedicated animal rights advocates don’t shy away from calling themselves environmentalists. They know that only by adopting a vegan lifestyle can one truly be an environmentalist. Vegans understand that the Earth cannot sustain billions upon billions of hungry bipedal carnivores and they recognize that the surest way to ease suffering for all is to eat lower on the food chain—in keeping with our proven primate heritage.

Absurd as it sounds to folks who really do care for the planet, certain atypically adroit sportsmen have been caught spreading the dogma that gun-toting Bambi-slayers actually have a “love for the land” and a concern for the animals they kill—that murdering animals is a wholesome Earth Day activity. Proselytizing hunter-holy-men try to downplay the obvious lethal impacts hunting has on individual animals and entire populations, wielding one of the weariest—and wackiest—of all clichés, “Hunters are the best environmentalists,” despite well-documented proof that hunting has been—and continues to be—a direct cause of extinction for untold species throughout the world.

Over-zealous hunters completely eradicated the once unimaginably abundant passenger pigeon and the Eskimo curlew (both killed en masse and sold by the cartload for pennies apiece), the Carolina parakeet (the only species of parrot native to the US) and the great auk (a flightless, North Atlantic answer to the penguin).

Hunting is the antithesis of environmentalism. The very notion of the gas-guzzling, beer-can-tossing hunter as an environmentalist is laughable even to them. Show me a hunter who is not antagonistic toward the rights of animals and I’ll show you a rare bird indeed.


Portions of this post were excerpted from the book, Exposing the Big Game: Living Targets of a Dying Sport:



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