Canada's National Post featured a rather inappropriately titled article today ("Living by the gun") which caught my eye and managed to turn my stomach a little. The article includes a large photo of a smiling man holding the head of a dead deer up by the deer's antlers and it examines -- glorifies, even -- the recent interest in which city-dwellers have apparently been indulging themselves: Single-handedly killing other animals.
In the article, killing isn't killing -- it's "harvesting". Free-roaming non-domesticated animals are "wild meat". An individual sentient non-human animal is an "it". The article describes the practice as having been spurred by the "local food movement". And the humans engaging in this hands-on slaughter?
This group of ethical meat eaters are emerging from urban centres to take up the hunt, an age-old practice that has been on the decline for decades as young people have left rural communities and the traditions of their parents and grandparents.These so-called ethical meat eaters are seeking escapism, the article tells us, but are purportedly proceeding from a
backlash against factory-farmed beef, pork and poultry, a food production practice that has faced intense scrutiny for being inhumane and environmentally damaging.Jonathan Safran Foer and his lot would be proud, no? One would think so, as the article goes on to use familiar expressions used by yon happy meat advocates. Hunting down and killing animals is "being in touch with where your food comes from" and "caring about the ethics of the food you're eating". It's about "connection with nature" and "sustainability".
More telling, however, is when the actual bloodthirsty lure of hunting is revealed in various quotes in the article, couched in the aforementioned proclamations of wanting to be environmentally-friendly and of their wanting to disentangle themselves from what's portrayed as the unethical slaughter of animals we deem suitable to raise for slaughter:
"Part of it is the local food thing [... b]ut the other side is purely primal[.]"That terms like "humane" and "ethical eater" get woven around these statements leaves me asking: Why are some animal advocates still viewing animal welfare groups and promoters of "happy meat" as part of a process which will lead to the end of our using non-human animals? Why are some animal advocates endorsing the sort of mindset that leaves the general public viewing some forms of animal use better than others? Why aren't we putting more time and energy into educating others that animals aren't ours to use and that so-called ethical eating doesn't involve killing sentient beings, whether their bodies end up in slaughterhouses or the backs of pickup trucks?
"Having a freezer full of meat, it's empowering."
"I took the hunting class because I wanted to have [the] feeling of taking responsibility for [a non-human animal's] life and its death[.]"
"I thought I'd feel a little remorse when I did it, [...b]ut I actually felt very excited. I thanked the animal when I essentially slit its throat."
Why not, indeed.