A Defense of Hunting from a Tree-Hugging Environmentalist Liberal


Let’s make no mistake about it: I am a liberal. Clinton is too moderate for me. I feel the Bern. I want more taxes and a load of regulation to protect the planet. And, at the same time, I am very pro hunting. Here’s why:

1.  I care about animals.

I’ve killed animals and it makes me sad. I have a number of hunter friends who pretend like they don’t have mixed feelings about a kill (being both happy and sympathetic), but it’s clear that they pretend. They spend a lot of time making rationalizations that are unprovoked. I couldn’t imagine killing my dog. And when I’ve shot animals that don’t die immediately, I feel bad about their suffering. That said, I eat a ton of meat. I estimate that I eat 30 different animals per week. If I go to Chipotle and order double meat (half chicken/half steak), that’s not one chicken and one cow. That’s a mixture of several animals. And as I chow down on meat day in and day out, I have no sympathy for the animal that I’m eating. In fact, I don’t think about those animals at all. If I were to kill those chickens and cows, I would think differently about my food. And it would be a more moral view of the impact of my diet on animals.

2.  Industrial meat production is immoral.

This relates to caring for animals. As mentioned, when shooting an animal, that animal suffers. It feels fear and pain. However, that fear and pain is small scale compared to what happens at big corporate farms. Some believe pigs are more intelligent than dogs. And the way pigs are treated in these farms is unreal. Gestation crates lead to a life of pure suffering where they can barely move, are forced into constant pregnancy, and suffer through disease and chronic injury while standing amidst other suffering animals and their own waste. That’s just for pork. Chicken and beef production is equally horrid. By hunting, a hunter is able to harvest an animal that lived a healthy, natural life. And by eating this meat rather than factory farmed meat, the hunter is taking his or her dollars away from that industry. In a sense, it’s a boycott.

3.  Organic food is better.

Of course this relates to factory farming. Does a week go by when there isn’t some massive meat recall?! Just the fact that meat is mass produced (at the expense of the animal) and then goes to waste because the meat will make you sick or kill you is immoral. This is the consequence of mass production of meat in factory farms, where animals have unnatural diets and are pumped with hormones and chemicals that we then take into our own bodies. There are no hormones and chemicals in a deer that has a natural diet and lives a free life. Organic food is better for you. Hunters eat organic through their kills.

4.  Pollution and the production and transport of meat is destroying the earth and advancing climate change.

Increasingly, ecosystems are being destroyed to make room for meat production. The Amazon is being deforested at a horrifying rate to clear the way for factory farms that then mass produce meat for the U.S. market. The deforestation advances climate change, and what’s worse, the meat then has to travel to the market. Transport of meat alone produces (literally) tons of toxins into the atmosphere. Don’t believe in climate change? At the very least, acknowledge the pollution and destruction of the environment that happens through the meat industry. This doesn’t happen with hunting.

4.  Conservation happens because of hunting.

Hunters want to always hunt. And hunters what to pass the tradition along to their kids. No one questions how much development has taken over our natural resources, so it’s hunters that labor endlessly to protect resources (to be hunted). It’s hunters as a collective that fight the public lands transfer and put a lot of dollars behind keeping the wild wild. And it works. Tree-huggers like me have more trees to hug because hunters lobby make sure there’s actually huntable public land left.

5.  Taxes serve citizens.

Hunters and hunting business pay taxes that in turn go towards resource management and conservation. Resource management is necessary, and you’d have to be crazy to dispute that. With hunters taking on this burden through taxes, it lessens the burden on other tax payers. That leaves tax dollars to be spent on roads, infrastructure, schools, entitlements, and so on. Thanks, hunters!


– Tim

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