Article contributed by Field Staff Writer H. Dulaney.
I want to share with you a positive story of a woman who supports an organization known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA. Now I know this seems an odd topic of a story here because we, as hunters and huntresses, are constantly being attacked by this organization. Those attacks make it hard to believe there could ever be a positive side.
My college is constantly gaining new students. I overheard this woman say that she was a vegetarian while she was having a conversation with another student. I politely asked her why she had chosen this lifestyle. She explained to me that she had supported animal rights. Now, before I go any further, I know that most of you are thinking “Anti Hunter”. Based on our conversation, that is not a label I would give!
Today most people do not know or even understand where there food is coming from. Surprisingly enough, this includes some hunters as well. Some people grew up hunting and fishing and that is how life has always been. They have never even thought of where other people’s food is sourced. This woman went on to tell me how she was against factory farming, treatment the animals receive in these farms, and how they are slaughtered.
Most people don’t understand how unsafe milk has become with the amount of growth hormones and antibiotics they give the cattle. Then this same milk is sold to the public at outrageous prices! It has been said that this could be why some cancer treatments are failing and why little girls are developing earlier than previous generations. The practices are seen with animals raised for the meat you buy in the grocery store.
I have personally been attacked on social media for being a hunter. There are several instances of this harassment which standout to me, such as being told “I deserve to be shot in the head”. The one statement that I really questions was, “Why don’t you purchase your food from the grocery store like a normal person?!” By “normal,” were they referring to the way the American meat industry operates? After hours of research and watching documentaries, I’ve learned that many beef cattle have become lame and can’t walk because they are loaded up with growth hormones to produce sellable meat in less than half of the time a cow would grow free range. even if they were physically able to walk that wouldn’t be possible with how tightly they are squeezed into pens and forced to reside in 3 feet of manure. Not only do these animals have terrible living conditions, but are developing diseases of their own as a result of their situation. E. Coli and Salmonella are going into the packaging and being shipped right to meat department at your local grocery store!
The animals that I have harvested as a source of food have never had such terrible living conditions. They have lived their lives to the fullest doing all of the natural things that these animals do in the wild. These wild animals have not been loaded up with antibiotics and growth hormones that could make me or my family sick or immune to cures for normal sickness. Now I’m not one to point fingers but I have to say the way I harvest my food source is absolutely the MOST humane method of harvesting an animal that there is today.
Chickens in the world of factory farming are given very similar treatment that cattle receive. In addition to the growth hormones, antibiotics, and close quarter living, poultry are “debeaked” before being placed into their tight cages. This process is completed without any type of anesthesia, and is often done by burning or cutting off the beak of the animal. It gets worse for the chickens and turkey as they grow larger. When they can no longer support their own weight, they are then sent to slaughter. There is no law that says that chickens and turkey must be euthanized before slaughtering, so these poultry’s throats are slit while completely conscious.
Though I am labeled a “killer”, I know that I am truly a provider. I provide not only for myself but for my family to keep us safe and to show my support for the animals involved in Factory Farming. The food production methods in modern America are not acceptable, and these practices are not keeping us safe! Wake up America! There are so many smaller, family owned farms which have thousands of dollars in debt and are close to failing that need your support! These farms treat animals raised for food the right way and don’t have to use growth hormones to create high volumes of production.
Every year my family purchases ½ slab of beef from a privately owned farm to last us through the year to supplement our Venison, Wild ducks, etc. We also raise free range chickens. We avoid the meat department almost 100% of the time. If you don’t live in a rural area and can’t raise such animals then you do have other options! Go to your local farmers market and purchase your eggs and veggies. Find a local farm that you can support and know that your beef was safely and humanely raised. If you’ve tried hunting or have always had an interest to begin hunting then I encourage you to get out there and provide for your family! Reasons I could provide to support hunting in regards to conservation, but my intention with this article is to get the information out there to educate those who not only attack others but who simply did not comprehend what is happening with their food. I challenge you to not only conduct your own research, but to stop supporting Factory Farming.
After discussing all of these factors with this woman, I felt relieved that, as a hunter, I had not only her approval but I had her support! She explained to me that she had been a vegetarian for 20 years. She said that if she had the “Hunter Instinct” and felt confident in harvesting her own food source to provide for her family that she would be more flexible in her decision to be 100% vegetarian and credit the decision of her lifestyle solely on factory farming.
After our conversation, she decided that she may be open to the idea of catching her own fish and making a meal. I can’t tell you how inspiring that made me feel to be able to open someone’s mind to new concept, even after 20 years of living a certain way. I am so glad that I was able to connect with her and to be able to write this article.