What would we think if we were told that vegetarians are some of the most likely candidates to become hunters? The foremost thought in our minds would probably be the historic tension between meat eaters and vegetarians, but we are not talking solely about meat eaters in this article. We are talking about hunters. People who pursue free range, organic, sustainable meat free from the commercial food industry.
In 2009, vegetarians made up 1% of the US population whereas currently they make up 5% of the population. This is a dramatic increase by any standards. It is estimated that 54% of vegetarians cite animal welfare as a major factor in their choice to follow a meatless diet. 53% of vegetarians cited health and 47% cited environmental concerns as the major deciding factors.
Health concerns regarding meat consumption revolve around the unnatural diets, enhanced growth rates and man-made antibiotics used on animals raised in the commercial food industry. This is a vile cocktail of unnatural ingredients entering our bodies while wild game meats hold so many positive health factors – a benefit hunters have realized for a millennia. Unfortunately wild game which is healthy and a morally responsible source of protein is often not segregated from commercial meats within the vegetarian debate.
More than 90% of people who become vegetarian decide to do so after watching some type of educational film. These educational films portray commercial farming – an industry filled with unethical, immoral and inhumane acts against animal welfare. A film showing a father and son hunting grouse or rabbits for dinner is something we simply don’t see, never mind having it touch ones emotions enough to create a life change in diet. Ethical hunting just doesn’t fit the bill in those regards. Most who are emotionally moved enough by the sight of hunting to change eating habits seek a vegan diet.
The environmental effects of commercial farming are devastating to say the least. The carbon footprint associated with large scale meat production is certainly enough to weigh on one’s mind. However, these devastating environmental effects are present with the mass production of crops as well as animals. Rice and soy are two of the most environmentally damaging food sources in the world. Obtaining wild game through hunting is perhaps the most harmonious way of maintaining the balance between our health and the health of the environment.
Vegetarians by nature are often well educated individuals especially when it comes to their food. When an individual first seeks information on a diet which will balance their health, morals and environmental concerns, they are quick to find information on vegetarian/meatless diets. Simply put, there is a lack of dietary literature on the well balanced health and environmental effects associated with wild game. Given the available literature, vegetarianism is often the result.
Vegetarianism can be quite diverse in itself and carries a certain amount of hypocrisy. Lacto vegetarian, ovo vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pollotarian and pescatarian are all different ‘levels’ of vegetarianism and unless a vegan diet is followed, they all are contingent upon the consumption of animals in some way. Vegetarians are simply stuck in the middle. They can see the flaws present in the commercial food industry and realize that these commercial farming operations are simply not sustainable.
When presented with wild game in particular, many vegetarians will not necessarily object to eating it. Wild game meat is essentially directly consistent with the majority of vegetarian’s dietary goals. Wild game has up to 5 times the omega 3’s as grain fed livestock and contains omega-3s not found in plants. Wild game is also loaded with vitamins B12, B3 (niacin), B6, Iron, Zinc and other lesser known nutrients such as creatine and carnosine.
Environmentally speaking, legal and ethical hunting can reduce carbon emissions by 75% and has no negative environmental effects when done legally and ethically. Taking part in the hunt itself allows an individual to have full control of knowing the animal led a natural life while ensuring a humane kill.
Studies have shown that 84% of vegetarians eventually return to eating meat. While vegetarians struggle to achieve a certain moral, ecological and physical health balance in their diet, it is likely that these most seemingly unlikely of candidates can find that perfect balance through hunting. We stress that those who still do not seek an organic alternative to commercialized meat like hunting, at minimum consider a local and organic vegetable diet to help curb major environmental issues.
Faunalytics (Humane Research Council)
Statistic Brain Research Institute