I recently wrote a post for Simple, Good and Tasty about cooking and eating beaver. I expected to get some feedback on the post but I didn't expect to be called out about the inhumane practice of trapping. I am not a trapper but I do support those who trap. One of the responses to my post was a very frustrated comment about how trapping is inhumane and doesn't fit the standard of humane practice that Simple, Good and Tasty stands for. It got me thinking and I felt compelled to put down a few words about killing animals.
Because this is my blog and I don't have to be PC, I am going to refer to the killing of animals as killing, not taking, not harvesting, killing. That is after all what I do, I kill these animals so that I can eat them. That may sound a little rough but it is honest and I am not ashamed of it. It is my opinion that killing an animal for food is a normal part of natural life and there is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong with people who have made the choice not to participate in the killing of animals for food or people who prefer that someone else kills the animals they eat.
My problem comes with the phrase humane killing, or humane slaughter. Killing is killing no matter how you dress it up. I don't have a problem with that but some people do, and because of that we use phrases like humane killing and harvesting animals. Killing is not humane no matter how you do it. No hunter wants to wound an animal and have it die an unpleasant death but while hunting or trapping things like that do happen. We hunters are not afforded the luxury of walking our quarry into a pen where they have their skull crushed with a bolt gun and then while they are stunned cut their throat and let them bleed out. That may be to graphic but it is a reality in most slaughter houses.
It doesn't matter how the animal lived, free range or not, in the end all livestock face a similar death. We have gotten very efficient at killing these animals but that does not mean it is humane.
As I have gotten older I have taken on the role of mentor to several people and helped them get into hunting. I hope that I have done a good enough job of conveying some of my practices to them. I don't expect everyone to start hunting or to even support it. I have made a choice to be an active participant in the process of getting my own meat. That requires me to kill and that it is not a responsibility I take lightly. Hopefully I will be able to pass that on to my kids, hopefully they will accept that responsibility.