The free-flowing Siuslaw River heads west from the coast mountains…
The recent story about Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe has certainly stirred up emotions around here. This killing was a crime, a waste and just plain cowardly. Cecil was killed as a trophy. He was killed to feed someone’s ego.
But that doesn’t mean we universally oppose hunting or the killing of game fish.
Yes, we’re all about conserving, protecting and respecting fish and wildlife here at To the Wild. But we also support the responsible and legal harvesting of fish and game that will be eaten. (We also like vegetarians, but that’s fodder for another post.)
Depending on the circumstances and the species we’re pursuing, we’ll happily harvest a fish or an animal. Why? Because it’s a far more spiritual act than going to the supermarket and buying meat from the counter.
Every time you buy a piece of flesh–whether fish, fowl or beast–someone has killed that creature. Chicken McNuggets? Someone killed a chicken. Sushi? Someone killed a fish or crab or eel. Calamari? Someone killed a squid. Hamburger? Well, you get the idea. Someone has done that nasty business of killing, cleaning and processing for you, so you don’t have to get your hands bloody and watch the life of another living being end for your own nourishment.
There’s a whole generation (or perhaps two) that has become detached from the brutal truth about the origin of their food. They will eat a hamburger at Wendy’s or bacon at their kitchen table while ranting about the cruelty and barbarity of hunting or fishing.
When you catch and kill a fish, or shoot a game bird or deer to eat, you are performing a more honorable act than if you went to the store or restaurant and purchased that flesh from another. When you hunt or fish, you are the one taking the life of another living, breathing being. You watch that creature die by your own hand. Which is why you must honor it by taking good care of its meat, not wasting any of it, and savoring it at your table–preferably with family and friends and a nice bottle of wine.
When fishing with kids, we’ll occasionally keep a fish to help instill these principles. We show the child how to kill the fish quickly and humanely, then care for the meat through proper cleaning, handling and storage. We always explain that we have made a conscious decision to end this creature’s life, which is why we must honor and respect it—especially as we enjoy it for dinner. We also remind the child that, whenever they eat fish or meat, someone had to kill that creature first.
We DO oppose trophy hunting, where the kill is made simply for “fun” and to hang a head on a wall or put a rug on the floor. There is nothing spiritual, positive or remotely honorable about this type of killing.
Next time you buy fish or meat, whether at the store or in a restaurant, take a moment to remember that someone took that creature’s life so that you could eat. Then think about getting out and doing some of that harvesting yourself.
Or, you could go vegetarian…except a growing body of research indicates even plants have an intelligent consciousness. So perhaps there’s no way to exist in this reality without consuming the living particles of another consciousness. Do it honorably.