A vegan-turned-hunter’s view
“We need another and a wiser
and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals…”
—Henry Beston, The Outermost House
Animals have always played a vital role in our imaginations. Since the dawn of the spoken word, we have been telling stories about them. Stories about sacred, powerful, and mysterious beings. Stories about companions and competitors. Stories about predators and prey.
Today, most North Americans have little interaction with animals, except pets. We are only distantly aware of the creatures incarcerated in modern factory farms. We catch only fleeting glimpses of most wildlife. The creatures we do see—the songbirds, squirrels, deer, and others who live around us or venture into our neighborhoods and backyards—may be pleasures to behold or plagues upon our gardens, but they are not central to our daily lives.
Yet we have not forgotten. Animals still evoke strong feelings in us. They remain alive in our imaginations. We still tell stories about them.
For some of us, the mindful consideration of animals leads to vegetarianism. For some, it leads to advocating for animal welfare or wildlife habitat. For some, it leads to raising our own meat animals, or taking care to get meat from farmers and ranchers whose practices we believe in. For some, it leads to hunting.
For some, it leads to all these things and more.