Last weekend we went for a little hike to Lake Chalice.
Spending the weekend out in nature, relaxing and reconnecting after some busy days for Seon. Later in the afternoon Seon went hunting with the goal to put some meat in our freezer.
We both start to feel more and more ambivalent about meat consumption though.
Buying meat, poultry, eggs or dairy in the supermarket and restaurant often makes it very hard to know the conditions of how the animal has lived and been killed. Did it have a relatively natural upbringing with the corresponding food, possibility of movement and surrounding? Or has it been held in close quarters, fed whatever makes it grow fastest and transported under great stress and agony to finally be killed in unfamiliar surroundings, after having watched or heard other fellow animals being killed before. I believe the different scenarios also affect also the quality and health benefits of meat, poultry, etc.
It still might taste great, especially when eaten in a restaurant. But is it good for you?
Buying organic meat and poultry, eggs and dairy for sure is a step in the right direction. Or buying from a local farmer where you can have a look at animal welfare yourself. Or – and this is possible only for a very few of us – holding your own animals.
Or hunting and fishing your own supplies, which is the option Seon and I are exploring at the moment.
With hunting you know the animal had a great life out there, with natural food, company and exercise. When killed in the right way (instant kill), it doesn’t even realise the good life is over and no suffering is involved.
Pretty much the same goes for fishing. You are in control of the situation and see the circumstances with your own eyes. If you fish your own fish, at least you know there is no collateral damage involved as in killing other fish species and damaging the seabed.
We also share the somehow radical point of view that if you can’t kill an animal, you shouldn’t eat it.
Because eating meat means eating a dead animal and being responsible for it’s death, like it or not. If I can’t truly deal with the killing, but eat meat anyways it makes me feel false and not taking responsibility for my actions.
Back to the hunting evening.
Seon managed to shoot a young female goat, with a clean shot and instant kill. He bled, skinned and gutted the animal and hung it up over night and once home, he stored small portions in the freezer and one piece went straight on the oven tray to be cooked up with some veggies for dinner.
So far so good.
Goats are considered a pest in New Zealand, so you actually help the native fauna and flora by killing them. But I couldn’t help thinking of the animal when it was still alive and the life it had.
I didn’t use to be that sentimental.
Somehow being a mother has made me much more emotional and vulnerable to those feelings. It’s the hormones I know. But the otherwise tasty dinner left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. I know we are superior on the food chain and that’s how things work out in nature. Predators eat their preys, animals kill each other all the time and it’s never fun to watch. So it definitely makes sense to me in a survival situation to kill and eat an animal.
The question I keep asking myself is:
Do I really need to eat meat, having so many other tasty alternatives to fill my stomach that don’t involve killing another living being?
In my head the thoughts keep going round and round. I hardly ever eat meat, and am getting close to becoming a 100% vegetarian and possibly dairy free. Luckily we have happy chicken in the community, so at least eating eggs is second thought free 🙂
After our goat dinner, we watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental movie “Before the flood”.
It highlights the most urgent problems in climate change and talks about:
- CO2, Fossil energy and how fossil fuel companies manipulate and dictate science and policies.
- Palm oil and the destruction of native forests in Indonesia.
- Meat consumption and its impact on the green house effect (10-12% of the total US greenhouse gas emission is due to cattle!), and how much land is used to grow food for life stock compared to food grown to eat.
- The consequences of temperature rise (we are close to +1 degree, at +2degrees all coral reef dies).
- Rising sea levels, threatening not only small island nations like Kiribati or the Marshall Islands. But it is already visible NOW in Miami where 40 Mio $ get invested to redesign an urban area that used to get flooded with high tide.
- Introducing a CO2 tax and why it doesn’t get approved (politics + fuel money).
- The melting ice in Greenland, dead coral reefs, the science behind temperature rise and how the change of the gulf stream might actually lead to lower temperatures in Europe.
- How politicians change their mind and adjust to public opinion.
- The chance to stop the temperature rise and partly recover.
- It also shows how some countries are taking steps to get away from fossil energy, with Sweden as super Hero. Several Swedish towns and cities have decided to go completely fossil-free, and some of them aim to achieve this goal as early as 2030!
Consume differently. What you buy, what you eat, how you get your power. Vote politicians that take action against climate change.
The movie was well worth watching and only fortified my thoughts about meat consumption earlier this weekend. It is easy nowadays to tune out on climate change. We have heard so much about it. But this doesn’t make it any less real.
The question is: what will we do about it, each and every single one of us?
It’s not for us, but for our children and grandchildren, and the kind of world we want to leave for them.