Is meat sustainable? My take.
After listening to this week’s podcast from The Self-Sufficient Gardener I wanted to chime in on this subject. It’s a very interesting subject, but also a very controversial one that many people seem to have an opinion on.
I should start by saying that I used to be a strict vegetarian and now only eat meat and fish that I or my husband personally hunt or fish. In our area this means walleye (usually only once or twice a year), partridge, moose, and deer. The reason I made the switch was because I had no personal issue with actually eating meat, but rather I took issue with factory farming and how we as a society get the majority of our meat. I am aware that this issue exists with poultry and dairy farming as well, but I’ve yet to find success with a vegan diet, personally. In my eyes, not only is the way that meat is raised (the majority of the time) unethical, but it also encourages an unhealthy diet.
So for me and my lifestyle, the real question is whether hunting is sustainable. The real answer, if we’re honest with ourselves, is that currently it isn’t about 90% of the time. The majority of the meat that we eat is moose meat, which comes from a hunt that my husband goes on with some of his relatives about 3 hours away from where we live. Just the gas alone makes it unsustainable, but even with a drive 3 hours each way it’s generally enough meat to get our small family of 3 through the winter and into the summer. The same goes for fishing- we only really go fishing a few times a year but we have to drive a few hours to get there.
Does that mean that it would be impossible for meat to be sustainable for our family? Not at all.
We live on a lake with some of the best fishing in the world, and come winter the ice fishing is plentiful. All that is really required is some fishing gear, and we’ve got all that. In the summer we use a canoe, so that’s pretty sustainable as well since we can walk to some great fishing spots or places to launch the canoe.
As for hunting, while my husband does love going hunting with his family- there’s plenty of sustainable hunting around us if we’re willing to make some changes. Our lot is within city limits, but our city just passed a by-law allowing property owners to hunt in town with a bow if their property is big enough (I think it was about 5 acres). This move, to eliminate a deer problem in the area, has been controversial in our city but presents a new and interesting food source for us. All we would need is a bow since we hang and process meat ourselves.
I’d be interested to hear more thoughts on this- how can we be more sustainable in our meat-consumption? Is it worth it?