Our bodies need energy to survive.
And we all know from physics that energy isn’t created or destroyed, just transferred.
Obviously, right? But we rarely take the time to analyze how we get this energy.
Spoiler alert: We get it from the food we eat.
So whether it is a leaf of lettuce or a cow, we are taking that life form’s energy and ingesting it for our own uses — to keep us alive. It doesn’t sound so pretty when I put it that way, I know. But bear with me.
My father is a hunter and I grew up going on hunting trips with him. But I am fortunate that I had what I lovingly refer to as “a hippie hunter” of a father. When he gets a deer tag, he backpacks five miles, carrying everything he needs to live to the middle of nowhere and spends the next week or so living off the land, being one with nature.
The Native Americans who once roamed the land where he hunts would be proud.
He spends his mornings hiking around the sides of the canyon, observing nature and taking the chance to be in the quiet, away from the cities and supermarkets that have made humans jaded. (No, that steak didn’t pop out of a machine that way.)
The life of the animal is taken in the most respectful of ways (if he even gets one), as quickly and as painlessly as possible. And my family, friends and I make a point of using every ounce of meat we can.
Plus, for all you organic fanatics out there, you don’t get a leaner, more wholesome meat than that of a wild deer.
I am so, so grateful that I’ve had a father to give me these experiences because, while I’m not a hunter myself, hearing the stories and even watching my father take life in that way has caused me to have such a great respect for what I eat and where what I eat comes from.
So when I hear that huntress, Rebecca Francis, shot a giraffe and is getting death threats online as a result, it makes me sad. Sad that all you meat-eaters out there have forgotten where your food comes from. We are jaded by the fact that you can go pick it up from the store without ever seeing the creature that died for that steak.
And that’s OK. I don’t think we should all go back to primitive ways. But I do think people should be a little more self-aware and a little less quick to jump to harsh judgments.
She had a permit and was given permission by those who control the land. And she was not just given permission, the people in charge deemed the animal’s death necessary in order to sustain the population. All the meat, even the bones and the tail, were given to a local population.
Ricky Gervais got probably the most attention for his response to the photo on Twitter.
What must've happened to you in your life to make you want to kill a beautiful animal & then lie next to it smiling? pic.twitter.com/DyYw1T5ck2
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) April 13, 2015
Of course, that photo of Francis smiling and laying next to the dead giraffe did make me uncomfortable. It’s too gratuitous for my taste and it doesn’t suggest a lot of empathy for the animal she killed. I have to agree with Gervais on that front.
But just because it wouldn’t have been my choice, doesn’t mean she did anything wrong. And it certainly doesn’t mean she deserves death threats.
The giraffe Francis killed had been kicked out of its herd and didn’t have much longer to live because of its age and circumstances. It was either going to die in the wilderness and be eaten by lions (remember, that energy is going to be transferred one way or another) or it was going to be eaten by people — people who lived in the area and really, really needed that food.
Though the image on social media may suggest otherwise, Francis didn’t shoot this animal solely for sport; she took its life to support and sustain a population.
It’s easy to be vegan when you have a plethora of supermarket choices. And I don’t mean that as a criticism. I myself tend to like my food gluten-free and dairy-free, so no judgments. But that’s the point of this article — to encourage all the online haters out there not to turn to judgment and instead take a second to consider the circumstances under which this animal’s life was taken.
Personally, I like the idea of its meat helping hungry humans rather than hungry lions. And those were the two options. Circle of life. And as harsh as it can be, it’s the reality we live in. Granted, we live at the top of the food chain, so it’s easy to forget, I know. But it is, nonetheless, the rule of our world, and humans are still very much a part of that world. We wouldn’t exist if we weren’t.