Lately we’ve been hearing from a lot of holier-than-thou types quick to make a distinction between sport and subsistence hunters. Truth is, there’s not all that much difference between the two. Sport hunters and pseudo-subsistence hunters are often such close kin they’re practically kissin’ cousins. I know a lot of hunters, but I’ve never met one who didn’t boast about “using the meat.” By the same token, I’ve never met anyone who openly admitted to being just a sport hunter.
There are a lot of needy poor folk out there these day, including myself, but I don’t know anyone who really needs to kill animals to survive. Like sport hunters, subsistence hunters do what they do because they want to, they enjoy the “lifestyle.” If one thing differentiates the two, it’s that meat hunters have an even stronger sense of entitlement.
But, everyone has a right to feed themselves and their family, don’t they? Well, does everyone—all 7 billion humans and counting—have the right to subsist off the backs of other animals when there are more humane and sustainable ways to feed ourselves? How many self-proclaimed “subsistence” hunters are willing to give up all their modern conveniences—their warm house, their car, their cable TV or their ever-present and attendant “reality” film crew—and live completely off the land like a Neanderthal? Not many I’m sure—at least not indefinitely.
It’s unclear what makes some folks believe they have the right to exploit wildlife as an easy source of protein, but animal flesh is by no means the safest or healthiest way for humans to get it. While a steady diet of decaying meat slowly rots your system, millions of vibrant people have found a satisfying and healthy way to eat that doesn’t involve preying on others.