Just a couple of the questions discussed in The Mindful Carnivore by Tovar Cerulli, a hunter–turned vegan–turned hunter again. Mr. Cerulli, after having been raised around hunting and fishing, decided in his early adulthood that he had had enough killing, and became a strict vegan. After some time he felt that consuming meat would benefit his health and began hunting again. His personal journey is interesting and raises some important issues and questions about the nature of our food and how we come by it. After all, we live in a drive-through, microwavable, shrink-wrapped society, and many of us, even those of us who are vegetarian or vegan, are fairly far removed from the production of the food that sustains us. We consume food items without knowing the amount of work (and sadly, suffering) required to produce it. The vast majority of meat-eaters would unlikely be willing to do the hands on killing necessary for that steak or barbequed chicken. Many of us are blissfully unaware of the enormous impact of our daily choices on the lives of animals, the water supply, the environment, and the global economy. I am a long-time vegetarian, and even though it was not one of the reasons compelling me to that choice years ago, my refusal to kill an animal in order to eat it certainly would deter me from consuming meat again, even if I wanted to (which I do not). There are many issues worth considering in any diet – animal suffering, environmental damage and pollution, health effects, cost, sustainability, and personal ethics. We may make different choices about what we eat, but all of us should make those choices after thoughtful deliberation and serious soul searching. By the way, this book was a gift to me from my brother, who is a food hunter, and while I could never hunt myself, I would prefer that those who wish to enjoy meat have the complete awareness of the creature they are about to consume as sustenance. At least hunters are willing to look their food in the eye first.

So—-what’s for dinner at your house?

photo by Petr Kratochvil via

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