Hunting Is Normal. Enjoy Your Tasty Animals.

Time for another cultural update from the backwards southerners, and to get us started let’s hear from the guy so southern and backward nobody can stand him:

129. In order to continue providing employment, it is imperative to promote an economy which favours productive diversity and business creativity. For example, there is a great variety of small-scale food production systems which feed the greater part of the world’s peoples, using a modest amount of land and producing less waste, be it in small agricultural parcels, in orchards and gardens, hunting and wild harvesting or local fishing. 

Laudato Si’ 129.

In commenting on the recent big-game scandals, a friend from more cosmopolitan parts expressed disgust that someone might enjoy hunting.  What kind of monsters are these? We’ll come back to the legitimate concern behind the blanket condemnation, but first let’s talk about dinner.

It is normal to eat meat. You aren’t a bad person if you like a bit of animal protein in your diet — indeed your body probably won’t function so well without it.  People who never, ever eat food-animals are an anomaly, not the norm.

So there are three ways to get meat:

  • You can locate a wild animal, kill it, butcher it, and serve it up for dinner.
  • You can locate a domesticated animal, kill it, butcher it, and serve it up for dinner.
  • You can salvage carrion.

Since carrion is not generally safe for human consumption, methods #1 & #2 are the ones that work best.

Now you can outsource the locating, the killing, the butchering and even the serving, but if you wish to have an animal on your plate, someone’s got to do the work to get it there.

(Likewise, if you merely wish to have an animal product on your plate — like one of the lovely blue eggs my chicken gives us in exchange for the highway grass and insects and vegetable scraps she likes more than we do — someone’s got to do the work to get that on your plate.)

Since it is normal (even good) for humans to eat these animal foods, it is normal (even good) for humans to go about the business of acquiring these foods.

There is nothing disordered about taking satisfaction in the work this entails.

Should animals be treated humanely? Absolutely.

Should we abide by just laws put into place as acts of good animal husbandry and stewardship? Absolutely.

But you don’t have to hate the work.  You can enjoy the work.  Indeed, those of us who get squeamish to the point of daintily insisting someone else do the work are the ones with the disordered feelings.


What about people who really just enjoy hunting?  Is there something wrong with them?

So my neighbor who likes to shoot things phones up my other neighbor who’s unemployed.  “You home?” he whispers into his cell on a crisp autumn afternoon.


“You still want me to get you that deer?” he whispers.

“Um.  Yeah.”

“Okay.  I’ll bring it by your house in an hour.”  He puts down his phone, picks up his gun, aims, shoots, done.  An hour later his truck pulls up as promised, carcass delivered.  The one guy likes to shoot things, and the other guy likes to eat.

It is normal for humans to use their respective gifts to help one another.


I have no opinion on big game hunters in Africa, because I’m not going to spend the time it would take to develop a properly-informed opinion on a topic that is utterly irrelevant to my life.  I figure we can use the miracle-tool of subsidiarity to leave that problem to Africans.

I do have an opinion about people who whine about nuisance deer, and my opinion is this: You know, they make these tools you can use to turn vermin into all kinds of yummy dinner foods.  


It is possible for a normal, healthy behavior to be abused.  It is possible to eat too much, to drink too much, to read too much.  It is possible to hunt too much.

But we should be careful in discussing cases of excess that we don’t argue against the right use when really what needs to be curbed is only the abuse.

File:Male Lion and Cub Chitwa South Africa Luca Galuzzi 2004 edit1.jpg
Nine out of ten lions surveyed agree: Tasty animals make for a lovely picnic.

Photo by Luca Galuzzi [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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