"Oh, in my most righteous vegan phase, I had been certain that hunting, like other forms of animal murder, was wrong."
Let me say one thing up front. If you're the sort of person who doesn't really want to think about the food you eat, don't read this book. For everyone else, The Mindful Carnivore will most likely be the most provocative book you'll read all year.
It will ask you to consider some striking ethical questions. In adopting veganism or vegetarianism, are we arrogantly setting ourselves above the predator-prey relationship? Does being vegan allow us to evade the inconvenient truth that millions of animals are killed every year via farming, even when that farming is done in the most ecologically ethical manner possible?
Is really possible for humans to think they can step outside of their place in the world's food chain? Or, is it more realistic and more honest to accept the realities of predation in our environment, and can respectful hunting for food and sustenance help humans gain a better connection to our environment?
Can hunting even be a sacred activity, an act of human humility and honor?
Tough questions. And The Mindful Carnivore asks and answers them. It's one of the most unusual and intriguing books I've ever read.
Many CK readers will recognize author Tovar Cerulli from past Friday Links posts. His blog, A Mindful Carnivore, covers subject matter that's unique in the world of food blogs: he's a former vegan who ultimately decided--in contradiction to a lifetime of certainty about its wrongness--to return to hunting.
And through hunting, he discovers an even deeper respect for animals and nature. It's a striking evolution of character, and Tovar tells his entire story in an honest and exceptionally well-written memoir.
So, let's ask the question: Is hunting fundamentally unethical? Is it sport at the expense of animals' lives?
Read this book and you'll see why hunting is neither. Ethically speaking, Tovar makes an overwhelming case that it's far superior to buying your meat shrinkwrapped at the grocery store. And more interestingly, he makes nearly as strong a case for hunting as a moral and habitat-friendly activity that, counterintuitively, protects animals. You'll have to read the book yourself to see exactly how.
This was an excellent read, and I walked away from it with a totally new and nuanced view on hunting. I give Tovar a ton of credit for writing a thought-provoking, educational, subtle, and agenda-free book. I highly, highly recommend it.
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