I originally posted this on Facebook, in the middle of a comment thread, so it’s not a stand-alone essay (too disjointed for that, especially the bit about ostrich meat, which was a direct reply to 2 other Facebookers)… still, I liked most of what I said, and I’m sharing it with you folks:
I eat meat and I expect I always will, but I wish we’d abolish slaughterhouses, adopt more humane dairy-farming practices, etc.
Since I *do* eat meat, I absolutely agree with what I’m going to call “American-style hunting”… I realize Americans do go around the world shooting things up, but I’d like to think those are just assholes, which you find in any country, and I’m using “American-style” to differentiate from, say, fox hunting or other types of hunting for “sport” (I was just sick in my mouth a little, at the idea of killing another living thing for “sport”). I digress, moving on.
Being more specific, I’m talking about what some of my own family members do: during regulated times of the year, in the appropriate season, my Uncle ___ goes off into the woods, shoots 1 or 2 deer (fully grown bucks only; I believe it’s illegal to shoot a doe, fawn, or whatever a teenage deer is called) skins the deer and takes the meat, and sticks it in the deep freezer, and my Aunt ___ basically doesn’t buy beef all year (or buys it a handful of times in a year, rather than weekly or monthly).
I’m not saying shooting a deer is a nice idea, it’s obviously not fun for the animal (or my uncle, really–he does it because humans eat meat, he’s getting the meat, it’s just another job that he does to provide for himself and his family) but it’s a damn sight…. cleaner? more humane?… than raising animals for a much more drawn-out slaughter, and taking no notice of how they’re kept, their quality of life, etc.
I genuinely don’t know enough about wild ostrich populations, etc, to know whether or not I think it’s okay to kill and eat them. I’d rather eat something with less of a brain (a bird, a fish, etc) than something with more of a brain (a cow, a pig) as a general rule, though. I mean, I still *eat* the animals with brains, assuming there’s a stable population of them, but I feel icky about it. Eating a (non-endangered, obviously) bird? Not so much, because I can’t see how most birds could really be self-aware (they don’t have the mental capacity for it, as far as I understand such things). Also, I just like the taste of flesh, and I’m going to keep eating it, to be perfectly honest. I mean, I hope that a massively-advanced race of extra-terrestrials doesn’t stumble upon Earth and feel that way about me and my relatively limited intellect; but if they do, eh, well, how many cows have I eaten in my life (even knowing they *do* have proper brains)…? Fair’s fair.
To return to what I feel is the main point of all this, though: I can’t see any reason to brag about killing any animal, even if you did eat it afterwards. That’s just a dick move.