Slow down. Before you call PETA to request they send a hitman, hear me out. A majority of people eat meat, so why is farming a better source of meat than hunting? Turns out it’s not, at least in terms of their respective “green” scores. When done for sustenance and not just for sport, hunting can actually be an environmentally friendly activity.
Let’s be clear – this statement only applies if you are following a specific set of guidelines. You are consuming or using every part of the animal you kill, to the best of your ability, and are not just killing for the sake of killing. The population of animals you are hunting is one that actually requires control, and that control ss198lf is professionally and/or properly managed. You are also making every effort to ensure the animal is killed humanely and that the weapon you use to do so is efficient.
Think Jake from Avatar, not Uncle Jimbo from South Park.
With all that in mind, consider that hunting has been part of the human story for countless generations. It is an ancient source of nourishment, connecting us to our wilder selves, and to nature. It might be surprising, but here are 5 ways hunting is actually environmentally friendly.
1. It Maintains and Controls Animal Populations
In the US at least, hunting is a highly regulated activity. Laws are in place at local, state, and federal levels that keep numbers of prey animals in check. These efforts help us do things like cut down on deer-car collisions and protect our agricultural products from grazing wildlife, helping us co-exist. At the same time, the overall health of the species is also protected in most places because of conservation laws limiting which animals can be hunted, when and where you can pursue them, and how many you are allowed to take.
The process has and will always need constant management, so animal populations that are popular with hunters may have a leg up, since they will be more vigilantly monitored for conservation as well as for the sake of preserving the sport.
2. It Bypasses Livestock Farming Practices
Entire books have been written about the environmental debacle of large-scale livestock farming. Let’s just cover the basics. We use 30% of the land on Earth to grow vegetables used to feed livestock like cattle, chicken, and pigs. We only use 10% to feed ourselves directly. We also use one third of the Earth’s fresh water hydrating our farm animals. Not to mention that methane emissions from livestock farming, produced as a by-product of digestion, account for at least one-third of all agriculture-related greenhouse gases.
Just like any other mass-produced food, commercially farmed meat often goes to waste. Supermarkets, restaurants, and consumers alike purchase more than they need and end up throwing too much of it away. And unlike the habitats of animals in the wild, livestock farming has already required the destruction of millions of acres of carbon-absorbing forests worldwide, accounting for as much as 15% of global carbon emissions.
While smaller-scale and “backyard” farms are great alternatives to large-scale commercial sources of meat, hunting is also a viable option. Deer, elk, wild hog, duck, and rabbit are all good substitutes for traditional livestock.
3. No Added Ingredients
One of the best things about eating game meat is knowing that it tastes just how nature intended. And you might be surprised to learn that much of our commercially-raised livestock actually does have added ingredients.
Agricultural livestock animals are often given small doses of antibiotics. Not to stave off infection, as you might think, but to promote growth, an accidental side effect discovered in the 1940s. This is a problem because the practice leads to the emergence of antibiotic-resistance bacterial strains. Though the potential impact on human health hasn’t yet been quantified, the possibility of a future outbreak certainly exists.
US farmers often give livestock animals steroid hormones or synthetic equivalents to promote growth and metabolism of feed into meat. The FDA claims these chemicals are safe for human consumption, but studies have shown they are excreted in feces, where they can make their way into the water systems, causing endocrine disruption for fish and other wildlife, and possibly finding their way to us.