Hunting: More Moral.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 22, 2010
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Above: a Deer Hunter (Literally)

via the Whoa.

I respect hunters and fishermen and women, who consume what they hunt as opposed to those of us who enjoy meat and cheese wrapped in plastic from the grocery or restaurant, fresh from a factory farm, with someone else doing all the intense work of seeing and propagating suffering, not just death.
But I do not think hunting should be characterized as a “sport.”

It’s brutal stuff. I’ve never hunted, but just watching the video below, the closest I’ve come, is painful. Still, I have friends who are hunters, and if you’re gonna eat meat, I guess it’s better the closer and more direct you are to the source.

And at least these deer aren’t imprisoned in dark, crowded, brutal factory farms, fed corn and fattened to the point where they can’t walk.

That’s how our chicken comes to us—far more brutal:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


20 Responses to “Hunting: More Moral.”

  1. Laurie says:

    Possibly, for some, it might be necessary. But noble or ethical or righteous or virtuous? I personally don’t think so.

  2. John says:

    The relativism is alive and well! What egregious behavior won't you whitewash?

  3. yXs says:

    Definitely the most ethical way to use animal products. If you don't eat the meat, though, there would be no argument for it's morality.

  4. smithnd says:

    You call that brutal!!

    Are you kidding? That was a perfect shot. They tracked the animal for a long time and obviously waited until they were in a perfect position to kill it instantly. Nothing brutal about it. Also, there are multiple bucks in the herd, they're not depriving them of mates.

    Hunting is necessary to reduce populations of noxious species. It's carefully regulated and is absolutely the most humane and ethical way to obtain meat.

  5. ailanna says:

    "Hunting is necessary to reduce populations of noxious species."

    I can think of one species that is massively overpopulated (to the tune of almost 7 billion) and inarguably noxious in its treatment of other species and natural resources…

  6. Laurie says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's start the culling of the herd now! And just think how long we could survive if we eat it!

  7. lighthasmass says:

    If you're going to eat meat be responsible for it. Raise it, hunt it, process it. There is no issue of morality when you harvest what Mother Earth offers. Grocery stores are where the morality of meat consumption is questionable.

  8. Nathan says:

    So you're saying we should hunt people? Because if you aren't, I am not seeing a solution in your argument.

  9. via

    Diane D
    I'm all for it, if you're talking treasure, or Easter eggs…….. Killing stuff, not so much.

    Todd D
    If you eat meat anyway, I don't see what the difference is except that you are perhaps taking more responsibility for your decision to eat meat if you hunt (assuming you take the act seriously).

    Alan A
    hmmm … I suppose it is if the hunter eats whatever he/she has hunted. That said, I think tracking down and killing creatures for the fun of it is questionable. At least in my own view and experience.

    Patti A
    Although I am a carnivour, killing any creature is not my thing.

    Darrin Buehler
    I think Todd and Alan raise the question of root cause (analysis). Is the question really, "How do you feel about hunting?" As a vegetarian, I encourage all meat eaters to hunt, as it is not my job to convince someone of my choices. Rather to encourage their experience to be as conscious as possible, so that they may make a deeper, more interconnected choice for themselves.

    Johnnie C
    Hunting is as moral and ethical as the hunter.

    Pam B
    Patti – 1) the word is "carnivore;" 2) you aren't one; you are an omnivore; 3) if you eat animals, killing them is indeed "your thing." You just aren't the one pulling the trigger/ slicing the throat.

    Heather A
    un less your in the wilderness, no need for it ,even then;)

    Peter A
    sports based on killing: not so much.

    Nathaniel W
    definition of life is that which dies…Arjuna did his duty.

    Meri P
    there is a difference between being a hunter and being a killer, i think, if you assume responsibility for taking the life with respect and honor… a more noble gesture than picking up a styrofoam tray of meat without even giving it a second thought.

    Patrick C
    well put Meri. I used to hunt but I don't anymore. These days I am a raw vegan. I think it is more natural to hunt respectfully and obey the laws then it is to turn a blind eye going to McDonalds etc. I think that a hunter is more humane than slaughter houses.

    Melissa GC
    My husband is… Once or twice a year he enjoys his day in the woods and comes home with meat to fill our cooler for the year. We never take more than we need (donate it if we do) or kill without a purpose. 2 lessons he's teaching our son. I could never do it, but would rather see the deer die with a purpose than of disease from overpopulation.

    Alan L
    I take no pleasure in Hunting, I do not see any sport in it. I hopefully take an Elk each season so that I can feed my family and myself.I try to catch some fish as well. I have tried the Vegetarian way, but doesn't really work for me. We have a garden, but we are limited to what we can grow at 7k feet. I could buy everything in a store, but I have grown up in the Grocery business and I understand how tainted our food supply is. I would rather take a chance on a wild (read free spirit and energetically superior animal than a farm raised, immunized "free range" or worse- cattle farmed piece of meat. I understand that people may be offended, I think that buying your food pre-packaged and not knowing from where it came is more offensive. I know that many produce growers tenuously hang on to their Organic designation, knowing that their groundwater is hopelessly contaminated. I can appreciate that.

    Vikki R
    I do not consider it a sport… I consider it a sickness.

    Beverly H
    Hunt was can be consumed by a family, give back to the area you took them from and respect the cause and effect of nature

    Diane M
    I suppose if I liked venison or other wild game it would be one thing, but I don't relish the thought of sitting out in the woods for hours waiting for an animal to walk by so I can blow it's head off. That's if I don't get my OWN head blown off by all the hungover (or still drunk) idiots all around me in the woods. Do NOT even try to dispute … See Morethis with me. I used to wait on these morons. They come to my town from miles around and drink thier ASSES off until the bars close, and then stagger back to camp, and get up at the crack of dawn and go out into the woods with guns. EVERY YEAR.

    JoAnn T
    The definition of the word "hunting" is chilling enough.

  10. Amen, ND. What I meant:

    Something can be moral, but still brutal. Watching that video was traumatizing. You're seeing the taking of a life because someone enjoys eating meat. Brutal. But moral? Maybe. Way more moral than ordering chicken or hamburger at a restaurant, especially if the meat comes from a conventional factory farm.

  11. Uh…vague yet holier than thou comments from anonymous friends?

  12. smithnd says:

    Right. So, I just don't think this is a brutal killing, unless you think all killing is brutal, which is what you seem to be saying.

    From my perspective, it looks like hunting is going to have to be part of a holistic and sustainable approach to eating. There is good reason to trim some species, or even breed certain species, that will ultimately wind up on dinner plates. In my view, it would be far better to satisfy someone's appetite for meat with the food than to supply maggots and carrion birds with food.

  13. Kat says:

    Perhaps the killing itself was not particularly brutal. But it is the obvious pleasure the hunter took in taking that life and then displaying the carcass that makes it so sick, and to me at least, immoral.

  14. Ryan Oelke says:

    lol, lay it down, Waylon 🙂

  15. Candice says:

    IF you can kill it, and still eat it, then more power to you. But most people are so disconnected from the fact that the meat they are eating is actually a dead animal….it doesn't come in pretty yellow styrofoam packages that grow on trees! If you can truly acknowledge it and still eat it….well I can't point the finger. I'm a vegetarian precisely because I can't eat from the suffering death of another living animal.

  16. waxbear says:

    Are we condemning all carnivores? Should lions only eat the plants that they grow and never? (Sorry, many animals must eat meat to live.)

    I think it's extremely funny to pass blanket judgement on hunting. When our species had little choice for survival, we had no more choice than animals, and hunted and gathered. The gatherers became died out in favor of the ones that hunted (and gathered). So, we evolved to be omnivores, capable of eating anything. We are unique among animals to have the ability to make such a wide array of choices.

    Morality is a funny thing. To me, it comes down to a question of greater good. Does it benefit me and the world If I choose to eat meat?

  17. […] let’s remembah: hunting is probably more “mindful” than buying yer meat from a restaurant or a grocery, all saran-wrapped n’everything. […]

  18. […] you, but though your ink has been dry for 20 years old now, you’re still relevant. More on hunting. Huntin‘. […]

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  20. pnutgalry says:

    To add a (hopefully) different thought or two to a well established thread:
    I personally consider taking organic grass fed protein through hunting infinitely more desirable than supporting the many abuses of the meat industry.
    You can relish the hunt and not particularly enjoy killing.
    With the human population as large as it is, hunting as a solution to feeding the population is simply not an option, it is actually a fairly expensive luxury.
    Trophy hunting is the removal of the healthiest male genes from the population's gene pool, and strikes me as a pointlessly egotistical pursuit. If I'm wrong on this or any other count please enlighten me.
    While the killing in the video might have seemed "brutal", I think few prey animals in the wild get to die comfortably in their sleep. If my choices of ways to die were to be 1) eaten alive, 2) ravaged by disease or starvation and then eaten alive, or 3) an unexpected bullet and a quick death, please go right ahead and pull the trigger
    Elk are unbelievably delicious:)