Hunting and Animal Cruelty: The Good and the Bad
This article is really meant for meat eaters only. If you're a vegan, I respect your views, but I already know your feelings on the issue. This article was chiefly written for people who eat meat but think that hunting is cruel. I hope to enlighten them - or to at least give them some points to consider.
It's also for hunters. Hunting isn't always good.
If you eat meat, you probably purchase it from a grocery store, in neat little packages. Do you ever stop to think that the food you consume was once a living, breathing animal? It had to be killed - it didn't die of natural causes. In most cases, the animals had little quality of life. They were likely kept their entire lives in small pens so that they wouldn't burn calories walking around. They probably never got to be a cow, or a chicken, or a pig. Almost 100% of the males were castrated at an early age - without benefit of anesthesia or pain killers.
When it was time for them to be turned into meat, they were probably forced onto a crowded truck or trailer and hauled miles to a slaughterhouse. There, most went without food or water until it was their time to die. When their "number was up," they were prodded along with sticks, whips, and electric prods.
U.S. slaughterhouses use different methods for killing. Some shoot the animals in the head with a bolt gun. Most, however, stun the animals with a jolt of electricity, then hang the animals upside down by one hind leg. At that point, their throats are cut - while they're still alive. This allows them to "bleed out."
Compare this to hunting. A deer is born in a thicket of South Georgia woods. It spends its life as a wild animal. It plays, it mates, and if it's a female, it bears and raises young, naturally. Food is plentiful because the local hunters plant food plots for the deer.
One day when the deer is full grown, it's out nibbling at some tender shoots, when it drops dead from a carefully aimed high-powered rifle. Since the bullet travels faster than the speed of sound, the deer never even heard the shot. He's then gutted, skinned, and turned into meat. No torture at the slaughterhouse.
Now be honest - which seems kinder to you? I've never understood how people who eat meat think hunting is cruel! I have friends who find deer hunting barbaric, yet they have no problem downing a steak. Is it because deer are cuter than cows and pigs? Does that make the less attractive animals any less worthy of enjoying compassion?
I remember one Thanksgiving, I was traveling with one of these friends. We were on the interstate, and we passed a truck with a just-killed deer in the back. She got all upset, saying they killed Bambi. At least I think that's what she said. It was kind of hard to understand her around her cheeseburger. True story! Somehow, the irony was lost on her.
Hunting is not always good. Just like any other group, there are good members and not-so-good members of the hunting community. There are hunters who kill animals out of season, when they're caring for young. There are also animals that can be hunted all year, and I don't like that - it's BAD.
Some hunters of racoons and oppossums hunt just for the killing. They use dogs to track the prey, and they often allow the dogs to tear the animals apart once treed. I also place this in the BAD category.
And then there are a few deer hunters who kill only for the trophy. If they kill a big buck, they'll cut off the head so that it can be mounted, and they leave the rest of the meat to rot in the woods. Another BAD example of hunting.
I can honestly say that all the hunters I know personally are sportsmen. They hunt in season, and they eat what they kill. They keep their rifles and their shooting skills in top condition to help ensure a quick kill. If they wound an animal, they track it and finish it off quickly. They spend money feeding and managing the very animals they target.
I hope I've given you something to think about. Next time you pick up a pound of ground beef or a pack of pork chops, think about where it came from.
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