My Struggles with Eating Meat and Recreational Hunting

I believe that violence is generally not justified except when it is absolutely necessary. Because of this, I am against killing animals for sport. In fact, when I was younger, I did not like the harming of animals at all. My mother tells a story about the first time I realized I was eating meat. She had given me some chicken nuggets and told me they were chicken. I tilted my head and said, “Bawk, bawk?” because I could not understand the concept that I was being told to eat an animal. 

When I was in elementary school, I considered becoming a vegetarian. My older sister was a vegetarian for a while, and I respected the sacrifices she made by not eating meat. However, my mom would not let me become a vegetarian until I got older. Now that I am more grown up, I have decided that it is okay to eat meat as long as it was killed humanely and raised safely. I reached this decision, in part, because of my uncle being a cattle farmer. I have come to see that animals are a part of the food chain created by God for our health and survival.

However, I still do not like the idea of people killing animals for entertainment. 

When I have been asked to go hunting, I have always declined because I do not find any pleasure in the idea of killing an animal. While some people say that hunting is solving animal overpopulation problems, I believe that there are better ways to remedy that situation, such as sterilizing and relocating. I view deer, birds, and fish much the same way as I do cats and dogs. We do not randomly kill cats and dogs for our weekend fun, and I feel the same standard should apply to wild animals. 

My belief about harming animals has been tested during my time in Boy Scouts. On one of our campouts, we were working on the fishing merit badge and were required to catch, kill, and cook a fish. I agree with the mission of the Boy Scouts, realize that they are trying to teach us how to survive in the wild, and respect the scoutmasters. However, I refused to meet the requirements for the badge. I had to explain to the scoutmaster that I was not comfortable killing a fish and that I would refrain from participating in the day’s activities. This was not an easy thing to do as I needed to have more badges to rank up to Eagle. The scoutmaster was not happy, and my parents pressured me to do it as well. I also was worried about my friends thinking that I was being judgmental of their choice to participate. 

On another occasion, my Scout troop was scheduled for a “survival hike” where we could not bring a tent or any food. We were expected to fish or otherwise hunt our own food to eat. Again, I decided not to participate. This time, my parents were more understanding and saw that I was not just being lazy. I was nervous about approaching the scoutmaster but, with my parents’ support, the troop was okay with it. In fact, everything turned out for the best because they needed me to keep an eye on the younger kids who were not old enough for the survival hike. I learned from this experience that it is not always easy to stand up for your beliefs but that people generally will support you if you are honest, consistent, and careful not to insult their beliefs.

 

Richmond, VA

I am a high school junior from Richmond, Virginia.