Farmers and Ranchers: American Heroes

Posted on 03/30/2009

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The Simple Honesty of Hunting and Agriculture

By ESaunders

Two contrasting articles on hunting made themselves through my email today, one praising hunting and another demonizing it.  In the reading I am reminded of the simple honesty of hunting and agriculture, the lack of self-deception and eternal optimism of hunters and farmers. Hunters and farmers live with a basic truth that most avoid and deny; survival  requires the injury or death of something else.  Partridge or peach, that which is consumed dies for the survival of the eater. 

In hunting, one remembers survival does not come without effort and luck.  A resulting meal is a reminder and celebration of the life of that creature.  A return empty-handed is a reminder that effort doesn’t always pay off, but that nothing of substance occurs without effort.  The day’s work is a moment of return to participation in the eons-old cycle of hunter and hunted.   Even more valuable, a reminder that the meat in the butcher’s case  was once another being and therefore to be valued.  This can even be seen in the hunter’s love for products like jerkey and smoked meats, ages old ways to preserve the product of the hunt so that it would not be wasted

In agriculture, farmers struggle in the face of the uncertainty of weather, season, fortune and market.  They do so to raise produce, flock, litter and herd in the hope that one’s investment will pay off.  It often doesn’t, yet they persist in a 24hr/365 day commitment to their business that most of us could not endure.  Raising any living item to market, seed or spawn if fraught with risk.  No farmer can look at food without a thought to its original field or form.

It is worth remembering.  No life comes without a little death.  All living creatures from seed to plant to breathing creature all suffer injury and death for our survival, that this is neither good nor bad but is simply the nature of life itself.  Perhaps instead of trying to divorce ourself from this reality, we all might take a lesson in this simple honesty from those who live with it so intimately.

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders
All rights reserved
  

Disclaimer: I am not actually a hunter, a farmer & have no financial ties to hunting or agri-business.

 Links to referenced articles:

A Novelist Takes Aim: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123819949095362075.html

Bow-Hunting Bill Sparks NJ Tiff:

 http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20090328_Bow-hunting_bill_sparks_N_J__tiff_Sportsmen_want_Sunday_ban_lifted__animal-rights_groups_are_opposed.html

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