In Defense of Killing: Part 6

Food Afield

Our culture is more disconnected than we’ve ever been from the processes of life. We’ve turned off, tuned out, and become completely ignorant about our most basic needs. Our water comes from the faucet and our food comes from the grocery store or restaurant. We have very little conception of the original origin of these life sustaining materials, the systems that deliver them to us, and least of all the effects those processes have on ourselves and our world. We unwillingly consent to things that we would never agree to in good conscience if we understood the processes. We’re more disconnected from the basic things that sustains our life than humans have ever been.

We look at ingredient labels on most of the foods in our grocery stores and can’t pronounce most of what we’re eating. We don’t know how the animals we eat were raised, what they were fed, or how they were killed.

It’s not our fault. The system is too big. We’re busy. The information presented to us is chosen and delivered to entertain more than inform. Often we see and hear incomplete or contradictory reports about our food. Sometimes the messages we receive are deliberately meant to deceive us.

Every year a slew of new information floods the airwaves and the bookshelves about what we should eat. We are constantly bombarded with marketing messages about where our food comes from that other sources tell us are important or that we should ignore. I truly believe that people want to make good choices but it’s nearly impossible to know what the right choices are. Cage-free, free-range, hormone-free, organic (pesticide/chemical free), non-GMO: Are these legitimate claims or marketing propaganda? And in either case, what has happened to our food system to get to a place where our food is marketed to us with claims about the unconscionable or unhealthy things that haven’t happened to the animals and the plants we’re eating.

The more I explored these questions the more disturbing the story of our food became.

I want to understand the world we live in. I want connection. I don’t want to do damage to things I love. I want to be happy and healthy. I think these are common human goals and I truly believe that learning more about the processes that surround our lives is essential to achieving those goals. The more we know, the more we can make choices that reflect our values.

I’ve been lucky enough to make my life traveling the world and exploring places where relatively few humans are able to go. I’ve found myself on the summits of high alpine peaks or deep in old growth forests looking at the earth from different perspectives. Spending a large portion of my time in nature fostered an appreciation for the world we live in and that in turn forced me to think about how my actions were effecting it. I began a slow process of trying to change habits and make decisions about which parts of my life I should focus on the most.

Unfortunately, the life I’ve built for myself spending time chasing snow

experienced too much of the world’s beauty not to want to protect it and I’ve learned too much to go on ignorantly destroying it. I started this journey several years ago when something inspired me to examine the ethics of my food (although at the time I wouldn’t have defined the exploration so clearly).

I wanted to become a hunter. Or at least I wanted to learn how to hunt. It felt like a basic part of being human that I had zero connection to. It seemed that if I wanted to keep eating meat with a clear conscience (and I really did want to keep eating meat) that I had to learn what it meant to take an animal’s life.

I decided to start simple and tackle a fundamental question. Is it ok to kill an animal for food? At the time I had no idea where this journey would take me.

To begin the series from the beginning start HERE.