Some years back, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook overlord) wrote that he was only going to eat meat he killed himself, and that made the Internet explode (as it tends to do). Suddenly, he was some kind of demonic human bent on the torture of cute lil’ creatures, at least to active vegetarians and vegans. But to me, he was a normal dude who’d actually taken responsibility for being a human creature himself. I’m not sure what his diet consists of now, but although his original post about killin’ his meat was a likely publicity stunt, it was also a wakeup call to the discourse surrounding vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters.
I can wager that any hunter in the states is either seen as a murderer or manly man (with little wiggle room between definitions). Having lived outside the states, I’ve met a couple folks who either hunt animals or raise animals for slaughter, and they hardly come under fire for it socially. One man in particular, a student of mine, goes up to the mountains, shoots a deer, then uses as much of the animal as possible. That’s not wasteful, nor is it particularly cruel. That same animal would be eaten by a cougar anyhow, and that flipside death would be far worse. A human hunter is still part of the swirling momentum of nature, especially when efforts are taken to utilize (thereby respecting) the organism. It ain’t a sin to see an animal and think, “Delicious!”
And that other dude, whose family cultivates then kills piggies and their farmyard compatriots, has argued that the animals on the property live lovely little lives before a swift death. Read anything by or look up Polyface Farms or its owner Joel Salatin and you’ll see that responsible farming of animals (treating the animals right and adhering to their Darwinian encoded desires in the environment) is fine and dandy; the protein derived from these animals, and those hunted well, is rad protein to shove into one’s face.
I can understand that certain folks see killing animals as monstrous, but wired into a good number of us is the desire to consume animals, there is no question of this. Yes, factory farming is possibly one of the most harmful inventions that that humans have smothered the earth in, but that doesn’t mean no one ever should eat animals. I’m cool with vegetarians, vegans, carnivores alike, but relationships are smushed everyday from arguments over gustation habits. Zuckerberg is not a monster for killing animals; he’s a responsible creature for doing the dirty work himself. An animal rights vegan should by that token farm their own greens and such, because many veggie producers still contribute to animal cruelty in one way or another.
All I’m saying is that whatever our culinary choices tend to be, we must be responsible for them, otherwise we continue to wreak havoc on the ecosystem (that’s done nothing to us, by the way). A meat eater should know what goes into taking a live animal and turning it into their BBQ ribs, and a vegan should know the steps between sunlight and their weird but actually delicious kale and beet salad. We have to stop fighting and learn ourselves a little something, because while we bicker, the masterminds of big chemical and slaughter continue their planet-crushing activities, with not enough of us focused to stop them.