Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Monday, April 16, 2007

Would you eat Bambi?

Had an animated discussion a while ago with a friend about eating game - game, as in duck, rabbit, deer etc. that had been killed in the wild.

He was uncomfortable with the notion and said he would only eat it if he had to, to keep from starving. He does not feel the same way about fish, only mammals.

I suspect he has quite a bit of company. I think it’s an example of the Disneyfication of wildlife. Nobody wants to eat something that has done cute things on a movie or tv screen. Even if that something is a cartoon. Organizations like PETA, for all their stridency and media-grabbing stunts, can’t hold a candle to Bambi when it comes to turning people off from hunting and/or eating game.

My friend didn’t want to eat domesticated game either. A farm-raised duck was just as unpalatable to him as the ones he tossed bits of bread to at a nearby pond. I think he, like a large segment of the population, prefers to think that last night’s supper mysteriously appeared on a Styrofoam tray in the meat department of the grocery after an Immaculate Dissection.

I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t like to think about living cows and pigs being turned into hamburgers and chops. They’d druther not know about abbatoirs and killing floors. I can’t really blame them. They’re very unpleasant places.

Although I no longer hunt game, I am certainly not opposed to the process. And I wouldn’t turn down an offer of some venison or a brace of ducks. And if I had a choice between dying suddenly, while grazing in a field, or in a slaughterhouse, after hours of horrible stress, it would be a no-brainer.

What do you think? Do you eat meat? Do you, would you, eat game? Is fish okay but not venison? I’d love to know your thoughts.


Dawno said...

I've had venison, wild boar, rabbit, elk and duck. I'll eat 'em all.

The venison and wild boar were part of the thinly sliced and frost crystalled meat selections at a "gourmet" Monglian BBQ we ate at often when my family lived in Taiwan. The elk was from a hunting friend of my dad's who had so much elk meat in the freezer he was giving it away by the pound. We took a pound of ground elk meat and had "elk burger tacos" one night. With the Mexican seasonings you couldn't tell it from ground beef filling.

The rabbit made me ill and I haven't had rabbit since. We had it for dinner before the Winter Formal when I was 15 or 16 - I had to come home about half way through the dance.

Duck I've had a few times - most often as Peking Duck. Yummy.

I have heard stories that some of the meats in the Taiwanese meals we ate were from sources I'd just rather not know about.

Slick2097 said...

Would you eat Bambi?

Yes, with no hesitation. If were not meant to eat meat, it would not taste so damn delicious.

Mmm, juicy meaty goodness.

Leah J. Utas said...

Alberta girl here raised on moose and deer. I was so used to wild meat it took me years to get a flavor out of beef. I like it, though, and bison too.

Whitefish out of the Athabasca River 40 years ago still can't be beat.

And partridges, Frank. Tasty partridges shot each fall at sunset.
Elk, caribou, musk ox, Arctic char..ooh...I better stop.

Frank Baron said...

That's the spirit Dawno!

Slick, I hear you (but Walt's rolling over in his grave). ;)

Leah, you're making me drool. :)

Stace said...

I grew up (well, that's debatable...) on a small farm, we had our own cows and sheep and chooks... there was never any question that we would eat them. We NAMED them and then ate them. That never seemed wrong to me. Maybe I'm just weird. I have no problem with eating kangaroo or emu either - native Australian animals, the ones on our coat of arms no less! I guess I'll try anything once.

Aidan said...

No problem: i was a vegetarian due to health concerns for a period of 18 months i am now reformed.... It wasnt an animal rights thing.. AS an Aussie i take pride in BBQing the symbols of our emblem, Kangaroo is nice, emu is superb but a tad salty....

As for hunting, i have no probs and see no distinction between that and fishing both have the same result, fish arent quite as cudly though

Bernita said...

Fried deer meat was a soul food of my childhood.

Frank Baron said...

Stace, you and Adrian are making me jealous. Emu is available here (expensive and difficult to find though) but kangaroos aren't. They're are just rabbits with enormous thighs right?

Frank Baron said...

Bernita, I've only had deer two or three times, donated by friends of my parents. I gather your Dad was a hunter?

alfaking said...

Yeah, I do eat meat, beef in particular, bit chicken's ok. Fish is what I infatuate with. When I was posted in a remote island, we got fish in abundance, ate in various forms, octopus, lobster. I still long to go back just for these.

Venison is not so common here, but remember having consumed hare when I was still a child. My dad brought from the fields.

Frank Baron said...

Ah, I love seafood too alfaking. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Crabby McSlacker said...

I'm one of those hypocrites (sp?) who eats meat but wishes she didn't. I kind of suspect animals feel pain and anguish and fear just the way we do, and if I were a better person I'd avoid inflicting any of that on any living creature and just subsist on tofu.

But I'm not a better person. I just think of "beef" or "lamb" as foods that are quite tasty and try not to think of "cows" or "sheep" when I'm eating them.

So I can't take any moral high ground. On the other hand, I do have a hard time understanding how people actually enjoy hunting animals. Once you're out in the world with actual Bambis or Thumpers, isn't it hard to pull the trigger and kill them?

But again, grilled Bambi on a plate with some mashed taters and I'd dig right in.

And thanks, Frank, for stopping by my blog. When I figure out this whole blogroll thingy I'll try to add you on. I'm still pretty new at all this.

Frank Baron said...

Crabby, I think all sensitive people share your concerns, at least to some extent. And I agree that mammals can feel fear and pain. Ethical hunters, who are by far the majority, will turn down 10 opportunities to shoot for every one they take. They won't fire unless they are quite certain of making a quick, painless kill.

This whole blog thing can take a bit of getting used to all right. There's a great blogging forum at the Absolute Write message board. Its moderator, Dawno, was the first to reply to this post. Scroll down the main page and you'll find it eventually. It's the best writing board on the net and I'm not just saying that because I'm a moderator there too. Probably. ;)


Crabby McSlacker said...

Thanks, Frank

It's actually very cool to hear about ethical hunters who try to for quick painless kills. I'm so naive about the sport, I figured everyone was like Dick Cheney, blasting away gleefully and obliviously at anything that moves.

And yeah, absolute write seems like a great resource!

Hildegarde said...

Oh wow, meat that mysteriously appears after an Immaculate Dissection : OK, I go for that :-)
Not really fond of meat, but meat from the bio-circuit (word in english :organic, animal-friendly ???) can be eaten without nightmares ;-)
And talking about fish : an unique event on my blog : I posted a photo of a fish, don't miss it ;-)

Anne C. Watkins said...

I grew up on a farm and we ate what we raised; my dad hunted game and it went into the frying pan, too. We even had deep fried rattlesnake once and it was pretty good (it was white meat and tasted sort of like chicken--really. Very bony, though.).

My dad is now 80 years old and he still keeps a few chickens for eggs and meat and whips up the occasional pot of rabbit dumplings. Unfortunately, he doesn't fish much anymore and I miss that 'cause he always shared his catch. Fresh fish is tasty!

Bibi said...

Yes, I've eaten Bambi, and frog's legs, sheep's brains, heart, rabbit, pheasant, grouse, etc ... but I've been vegetarian for the past 6 years or so (the result of watching hour upon hour of gross footage at an environmental film festival).

I do, however, still love wild salmon.

Let's hope this posts on my 3rd attempt! ;-)

Frank Baron said...

Crabby, glad you quit lurking and decided to join AW. :)

Hildegarde, yes, it's called "organic" or "free range" here. I'll be sure to check out your fish pic. :)

Glad to hear your Dad is still well Anne. I bet he just needs someone to take him fishing nowadays, or at least keep him company...Yes! I'm looking at you! ;)

It worked Bibi! Thanks for being persistent. I love wild salmon too. :)

Cath Smith said...

I love venison, and pheasant, and rabbit, and pigeon and pretty much anything gamey.

The way I see it, the animals have probably had a more natural life in the wild than they would being bred in captivity for food.

What bugs me is when hunters shoot and don't eat what they catch.

Frank Baron said...

I agree Cath but I think pure "sport" hunting, ie for a trophy only, is pretty much a thing of the past. I hope.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Good article and you’re right. Walt Disney was the first animal right activist using his films to promote this romantic worldview of human like animals, where the lion and the gazelle share a campfire and sing catchy tunes. By now we have two generations that grew up with a totally false idea of what nature is. Then there are those that belief that animals should have rights, in some cases even more than humans.

Fact is nature is very cruel and unforgiving, Death in nature is always very violent, utterly painful and often the end of long suffering. For an animal being shot by a hunter in comparison is as humane a death as it ever will get in nature. As a human I am on top of the food chain and our anatomy is that of a carnivore. While I respect all life forms, I have no moral quarrels to take life to eat be that by hunting for game or eating meat of slaughtered animals.

-Othmar Vohringer-

Frank Baron said...

Yes Othmar. As the urbanization of the earth continues, more and more people are removed from (what's left of) nature.

It's sad to me that many, many millions of city-raised kids will grow to adulthood thinking zoos are adequate representations of wild life.

Red Letter said...

Fish is OK, but not Nemo.
Venison, but not Bambi.
Pigs, but not Wilbur.
Cows, but not Elsie.
Horses, but not Spirit.

And I saw that guy on TV, Man vs. Wild, eat raw just-killed zebra the other night. After the lions were finished, that is.

My sons said, "cool." Clearly they are past Disney-age.

Frank Baron said...

Jeez red letter, I'd have to be powerful hungry to gnaw on lion leftovers. And I'd want some industrial-strength Tums on standby.

Doug Skinner said...

I've eaten duck, rabbit, groundhog, squirrel, deer, wild turkey, and pheasant...All good, and If presented a choice, I'd always go wild before farmed.

Frank Baron said...

I've had the same, except for the groundhog, but I've also dined on seagull (not recommended) and bull's penis (yummy).

Anonymous said...

Yes,I definately eat wild game.I love what I have tasted.I would choose wild before farmed ANYTIME.It is always healthier.