Senior Editor
Staff

The Inertia

Hunting is a funny thing. If you hunt or know hunters, you’re aware that most of them are far more concerned with conservation than the average person. I’m not talking about trophy hunters—I’m talking about people who hunt for food. When you think about it, if you’re going to eat meat, it’s better if you kill it yourself. Our voracious appetite for 16-ounce steaks, Big Macs, and grocery stores filled with ground-up animals packaged in Styrofoam and plastic have created an industry that is not only cruel but terrible for the environment as well. “To me, there’s nothing more profane than a bunch of live animals being killed by machines,” says Mark Healey, a man who is aware of where his food comes from because he does the dirty work himself. “There’s just no respect. But if you hunt an animal, you talk about that animal. You share the story. You share the food. It’s personal. You know where it came from.”

It is possible, however, to get our meat in a better way than from a slaughterhouse. Most hunters know that. One deer can feed a family for months. One fish can feed a family for a few days. And selecting which animal you’re going to eat saves millions of others from being dragged up from the bottom of the sea or living in a cage before dying from a bolt fired into the back of the head.  The only problem, however, is that doing that requires that you actually take a life. “No matter what you’re eating, it’s taking something from somewhere,” Healey says.  “Life consumes life—that’s just the way it goes. But you want to make sure the scales stay balanced.”

Of all forms of hunting, spearfishing may just be the fairest. Mostly done without tanks, spearfishing is the most selective type of hunting there is. Most spearfishermen go out with a certain fish in mind. Most are aware of the importance of careful selection. And perhaps most importantly, most are aware that the thing they’re hunting is alive—a very simple fact that is underappreciated in today’s grocery store culture. “When I go out to collect fish from the ocean, I’m going out and specifically targeting just what I need,” Healey explains. “Some people have a hard time swallowing seeing something die, but they don’t realize that any time you go to the supermarket, that thing had to die. You just didn’t have to do the dirty work, so you feel detached.”

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