Food sources. Hunting vs. Farm Raised Meat.. a discussion

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A relative in VT raises chickens for eggs and meat. Had a mink get into the hen house and kill 16 chickens. He found and plugged the hole only to have it get in some other way and kill the last two. Would the birds have been better off in the wild? Do we really have the right to dominate and harvest animals. Of course we do based on the fact that we always have. The vegans are also right.
 

OVERKILL

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I did know eventually the topic of pets would be brought up.. and I always wondered how a hunter viewed a pet.
Pets are domesticated. My two himalayans wouldn't last 5 minutes outside. If you've ever observed the behavioural differences between an alley cat and a purebred, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Short anecdote: We used to have a shelter cat, he was a kitten when I got him, I've posted pictures of him on here, he was beautiful. Probably came out of a barn litter or something, ended up at the humane society and that's where I found him. Fantastic hunter, could catch bats out of mid-air in the house when we had the odd one slip-in. Now, the two idiots while he was getting old, and they were quite young, would just watch him. They hadn't the faintest of clues as to what he was doing. They had absolutely no interest in catching the bats; zero hunting instinct. My kids have a couple of hamsters, the himmies just sniff them, the old boy would have tried to turn them into a snack.

All three the cats were raised the exact same by me. It's an instinct, it's bred-out of a lot of breeds as part of process. Many of the animals we call pets are not naturally wild animals in most cases. Dog breeds are all creations, some with centuries of lineage. The same goes for many cat breeds.

Speaking of birds and survival, climate plays a huge role. Yeah, a parrot or some other tropical bird would be dead right now up here, but it's not because it doesn't have its parrot buddies to snuggle with, it's because it's not from Canada and isn't equipped to handle winter. Animals have adapted to their natural habitats, it's humans that have taken them out of those locations for the purpose of keeping them.

Truly wild animals taken as pets can be wildly unpredictable. Look at folks that have kept lions and tigers and gotten mauled, often killed. The same goes for bears. Racoons can be really sketchy and are wickedly clever. There's a massive difference between my old Newfoundland, a dog that is a product of man's breeding practices, and somebody picking up a bear cub and deciding to take it home and call him Fred. The temperament of domestic dogs is part of the breeding process, it's one of the traits honed. We produce dogs that behave a certain way and what that looks like will depend on the breed.

So, pets are different. Domesticated ones that is. They are mans creation, a manipulation of nature for companionship and utility.
 
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I have a service dog to help me with mobility, balance, and PTSD issues. She is very well trained and behaved, but she wouldn't survive long on her own in the wild. I have had one person (PETA supporter) scold me saying that plunging a dog into servitude to humans is inhumane, and I should feel ashamed. I politely told her that the only thing I feel ashamed about is that my dog has to share the same oxygen as her.
 
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Pets are domesticated. My two himalayans wouldn't last 5 minutes outside. If you've ever observed the behavioural differences between an alley cat and a purebred, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Short anecdote: We used to have a shelter cat, he was a kitten when I got him, I've posted pictures of him on here, he was beautiful. Probably came out of a barn litter or something, ended up at the humane society and that's where I found him. Fantastic hunter, could catch bats out of mid-air in the house when we had the odd one slip-in. Now, the two idiots while he was getting old, and they were quite young, would just watch him. They hadn't the faintest of clues as to what he was doing. They had absolutely no interest in catching the bats; zero hunting instinct. My kids have a couple of hamsters, the himmies just sniff them, the old boy would have tried to turn them into a snack.

All three the cats were raised the exact same by me. It's an instinct, it's bred-out of a lot of breeds as part of process. Many of the animals we call pets are not naturally wild animals in most cases. Dog breeds are all creations, some with centuries of lineage. The same goes for many cat breeds.

Speaking of birds and survival, climate plays a huge role. Yeah, a parrot or some other tropical bird would be dead right now up here, but it's not because it doesn't have its parrot buddies to snuggle with, it's because it's not from Canada and isn't equipped to handle winter. Animals have adapted to their natural habitats, it's humans that have taken them out of those locations for the purpose of keeping them.

Truly wild animals taken as pets can be wildly unpredictable. Look at folks that have kept lions and tigers and gotten mauled, often killed. The same goes for bears. Racoons can be really sketchy and are wickedly clever. There's a massive difference between my old Newfoundland, a dog that is a product of man's breeding practices, and somebody picking up a bear cub and deciding to take it home and call him Fred. The temperament of domestic dogs is part of the breeding process, it's one of the traits honed. We produce dogs that behave a certain way and what that looks like will depend on the breed.

So, pets are different. Domesticated ones that is. They are mans creation, a manipulation of nature for companionship and utility.
Interesting, I'd always thought that domestic cats were not that far removed from their feral ancestors, at least in temperament.

Dogs, for sure - some (most) breeds are a long way from their wolf heritage.
 
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Hunting can be sub-divided into population control and sport and to some extent depends on the animal.

I'm not a hunter. For me as an individual the the ends don't justify the means. I don't NEED to hunt for sustenance therefore I don't. I'm not a fan of hunting for sport but I understand an economic argument can made as a means of preserving some species but again that's just me. I understand that a lack of predators can result in sick/starving populations of prey species and hunting is needed in order to cull the herd which will allow it to survive.


"The books I have read about how some argue that meat is not good for you because of the high stress manner in which the fatted calf is killed, releasing endorphens and toxins into the meat aside, I am not sure how hunting could be compared to the way in which the meat in our supermarket comes packaged, different brand names, etc etc."

-People who started this thinking are simply lying in order to get one to adhere to a particular viewpoint. It's a ridiculous position.
Death is stressful, always has been and always will be. For tens of thousands of years death has been a stressful event for the animal which was consumed and we've managed to not survive but thrive. I would argue that the technological advancements in firearms have increased the potential for reducing the stress associated with death but it will never be removed entirely from hunting. Ask yourself, would you rather die from one gunshot or multiple puncture wounds? How about starvation? Disease?
 
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During my starving student college years I used to hunt a lot. I hunted mule deer, pheasant, dove and quail. Not a lot of meals from the birds, but having a freezer full of venison steaks, chops, roasts and mixed with ground pork burger went a long way towards managing my grocery budget. And I liked the fact that the deer were free range and not loaded with growth hormones or other unnatural substances. Making a clean kill and not having the animals suffer is part of being a good sportsman. You must respect the animals.

I no longer hunt, primarily because most of the deer herds have been decimated due to development of their habitat or other reasons.
I know that I have the skills to go an do it again if I needed to in a survival situation. Many,many people don't these days. If they couldn't use their cell phones to have door dash deliver some processed vegetable matter fake burgers they would be in a world of hurt.
 
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Interesting, I'd always thought that domestic cats were not that far removed from their feral ancestors, at least in temperament.

Dogs, for sure - some (most) breeds are a long way from their wolf heritage.
You're correct. Domestic cats are not as far removed from their ancestors and age really is the only limiting factor with regards to survivability of a purebred which is let loose in the wild and allowed to turn feral. The average lifespan of a feral cat is 2-5 years. They usually die of disease or a predator (ex, Larger cat like a cougar, coyote, bird of prey, etc). Obviously a 10 yr old domestic cat would have a tough time making a go of it.
 

OVERKILL

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You're correct. Domestic cats are not as far removed from their ancestors and age really is the only limiting factor with regards to survivability of a purebred which is let loose in the wild and allowed to turn feral. The average lifespan of a feral cat is 2-5 years. They usually die of disease or a predator (ex, Larger cat like a cougar, coyote, bird of prey, etc). Obviously a 10 yr old domestic cat would have a tough time making a go of it.

Himalayans and Ragdolls...etc are construct-bred like most dogs (not natural breeds) but with a larger focus put on appearance and less emphasis on temperament. The traits are also not as finely honed as with dogs, which have a longer, and more nuanced breeding history. In many of these breeds the hunting instinct, perhaps by accident, is bred-out or greatly weakened. In others, since mousing has been a desirable trait for felines historically, it may be emphasized, like on the Manx for example.

Many of these purebred cats are also prone to health problems and genetic oddities which would greatly increase the chances of mortality in the wild.

On Himmies for example:
  • Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing caused by constricted nostrils
  • Dental malocclusions, meaning the teeth don’t mesh well together
  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye conditions such as cherry eye, entropion and progressive retinal atrophy
  • Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a nervous system disorder
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Polycystic kidney disease, for which a genetic test is available
  • Predisposition to ringworm, a fungal infection
  • Seborrhea oleosa, a skin condition that causes itchiness, redness and hair loss

I found this description of a Ragdoll and it matches our experience with the breed to a tee:
Ragdoll cats are a relatively new breed that was developed in the 1960s. They hail from California in the United States of America. These adorable kitties are cute beyond belief, and they are as lovable as they appear. Ragdolls are devout lap cats who are given to bouts of intense snuggling. They get their name because when they get love and affection from their owners they collapse in a state of ecstasy. When it comes to catching mice, you had just as well forget it. Once in a while you may see a ragdoll give a mouse a run, but they would much rather be lovers than fighters. Definitely not the cat to own if you want a mouser, but a sweetheart who will light up your life in other ways.

We've found Himmies to be the same way, absolutely no interest in rodents, bats, birds, beyond looking at them. The complete polar-opposite from Siamese cats we've owned and of course the alley cats and non-purebred ones we've owned.
 
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“Cows and Chickens are bred for the slaughter”....
Wild animals...”Those animals will go on to have their lives, in the woods and wilderness, until they either die of age, the elements,”

I am sure every chicken and cow born has expectations of living until they die of age, etc. You can’t breed in the will to March to the slaughter in a farm animal. Taking a life of a deer early for food is no different, no more guilt level there, than taking the life of a cow.

Cattle breeding hasn't necessarily changed the animal all that much. But most commercially raised chickens and other poultry? That's actually completely unnatural. Especially turkeys. They're bred for excessive breast meat, which is what most consumers want. They're completely top heavy. They grow to marketable size extremely quickly. And if they're not slaughtered they live relatively short lives. You know the turkeys "pardoned" by the President every year? They'll usually be sent to a farm that won't slaughter them, where they'll be lucky if they survive just a year.

That being said, the fact is that relatively few people hunt. If there were a far larger proportion of the population that hunted, it would be unsustainable. We can see what happened when hunting was uncontrolled. The passenger pigeon went extinct, and the North American bison nearly went extinct.
 
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Himalayans and Ragdolls...etc are construct-bred like most dogs (not natural breeds) but with a larger focus put on appearance and less emphasis on temperament. The traits are also not as finely honed as with dogs, which have a longer, and more nuanced breeding history. In many of these breeds the hunting instinct, perhaps by accident, is bred-out or greatly weakened. In others, since mousing has been a desirable trait for felines historically, it may be emphasized, like on the Manx for example.

Many of these purebred cats are also prone to health problems and genetic oddities which would greatly increase the chances of mortality in the wild.

On Himmies for example:
  • Breathing difficulty or noisy breathing caused by constricted nostrils
  • Dental malocclusions, meaning the teeth don’t mesh well together
  • Excessive tearing
  • Eye conditions such as cherry eye, entropion and progressive retinal atrophy
  • Feline hyperesthesia syndrome, a nervous system disorder
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Polycystic kidney disease, for which a genetic test is available
  • Predisposition to ringworm, a fungal infection
  • Seborrhea oleosa, a skin condition that causes itchiness, redness and hair loss

I found this description of a Ragdoll and it matches our experience with the breed to a tee:


We've found Himmies to be the same way, absolutely no interest in rodents, bats, birds, beyond looking at them. The complete polar-opposite from Siamese cats we've owned and of course the alley cats and non-purebred ones we've owned.
Ya I get what you're saying. We've have/had a few Maine Coons as well as a himalayan. The thing is that a lot of these breed specific issues crop up later in life. For example PKD could easily become problematic for an animal at at 7 but if the animal has a lifespan of 3 does it really matter? IMO..not so much. Feral cats born with health problems simply don't make from the get go. We as humans don't typically see that. Feline leukemia and rabies can quickly wipe out a small population of ferals.

Anecdotal experience. Years ago we had a feral behind us living in an abandoned home. She had a litter of 7 or so and last time we saw her and the kittens about 3 months later she was down to 2 kittens.

Climate is also imported. Just as a lynx can survive a canadian winter so could perhaps a Norwegian Forest or a Maine Coon. However a siamese cat couldn't and neither could a Jaguar.
 

OVERKILL

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Our rotund himmie had a UTI, then later a urinary blockage that cost north of $4K to deal with (he was expected not to pull through) when he was around 2. Urinary issues are well-known in male cats, outside of purebred circles, so it's definitely not something exclusive to the breed. I expect this is another one of those things that leads to unrecorded early mortality, we are only aware of it because of domestication.

Some Persians and Himalayan cats that have severely squished faces (ours do not) would have no chance of survival outside of captivity IMHO, they can barely breathe and eating is a chore. This is a result of breeding decisions, similar to pugs, that would be the most appropriate dog comparison.

Cats are an interesting sub-topic here though because there is such a significant feral population and your typical petshop cat "mutt" isn't all that removed from its wild sibling, unlike with most dog breeds, but at the same time, there are clearly breeds that depart from those natural characteristics significantly, many of which we've discussed.
 

JT20

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Our rotund himmie had a UTI, then later a urinary blockage that cost north of $4K to deal with (he was expected not to pull through) when he was around 2. Urinary issues are well-known in male cats, outside of purebred circles, so it's definitely not something exclusive to the breed. I expect this is another one of those things that leads to unrecorded early mortality, we are only aware of it because of domestication.

Some Persians and Himalayan cats that have severely squished faces (ours do not) would have no chance of survival outside of captivity IMHO, they can barely breathe and eating is a chore. This is a result of breeding decisions, similar to pugs, that would be the most appropriate dog comparison.

Cats are an interesting sub-topic here though because there is such a significant feral population and your typical petshop cat "mutt" isn't all that removed from its wild sibling, unlike with most dog breeds, but at the same time, there are clearly breeds that depart from those natural characteristics significantly, many of which we've discussed.

And a lot of people don't know this, but petshop birds are also COMPLETELY undomesticated, straight shot of bloodline back to their little New Zealand ancestors. Parakeets are just conjures.

I also have cats and also a Wheaton Terrier, unfortunately Bubba had terminal cancer as well as the seizures:( as did Max (cancer, gradual weakening.) Actually, as did Casey, but he was a Purebred and I hear its more common in larger-breed dogs as he was. Then there's just old age.
 
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I don't hunt, but do go fishing. I enjoy catching fish but only keep what either my family or my friends will eat. Any fish not to be eaten go back in the water.
 
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I haven't read through the posts in the thread so please forgive any redundancies. Here are my thoughts:

1) Factory farming is destructive in so many ways. From the environmental degradation to exploitative labour practices to trade arrangements that leave us dependent on foreign whim to the obliteration of the market and family farm.

2) Hunting and gardening bring us outside and teaches us skills and resilience, patience, confidence and humility.

3) Factory farmed food is "less" in every way measurable. It nourishes us less, it tastes less. It is obtained passively and is detrimental to our understanding of and connection to our food. Kids eat healthier when they're connected to their food. If they grew it or killed it they'll eat it and understand its value over bagged or boxed garbage in the aisles. Even knowing the farmer who grew your food properly and who sold it to you mitigates much of the destruction inherent in our current factory model.
 
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Funny thing about cats,no matter how domesticated they are,they never lose their hunting instinct. I once read that the cat is the ultimate predator.
 
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It’s good to know that there is nowhere near enough hunt-able wildlife here to feed our nation.
Now for sure, but before Europeans arrived there was ~30 billion pounds of bison on the hoof in the central plains, and now there is ~4 billion pounds of deer in the US which is probably far more than there was before european settlement. A sustainable annual harvest might be 20% so it starts to add up. If we could go back in time and manage our fisheries properly and not pollute places like Chesapeake bay and the great lakes with agricultural run-off, there might be billions more pounds of wild fish, oysters, crab, lobsters, etc, to eat.


It's an interesting thought anyways, how many people could have been fed sustainably a healthy amount of meat protein on the natural food systems of north america before we wrecked most of them? Probably close to the full 370 million of us if we weren't too picky on what the protein is... I bet Passenger Pigeon tasted a little like chicken...
 

OVERKILL

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Funny thing about cats,no matter how domesticated they are,they never lose their hunting instinct. I once read that the cat is the ultimate predator.

May want to read my posts above, lol. There are definitely cats that don't have a hunting instinct, we own two of them.
 
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I am objected to hunting endangered animal or cutting down significant amount of old forest land without replacing the space with the same sort of plants, due to possible environmental impact (local weather, endanger species, chain reaction that causes pollution, impact to the nearby ocean and destroy the fish sources, etc).

I am not objecting to hunting just because deers are cute or rabbits are cute. I am also not objecting fishing as a sport. As long as they don't leave messes in the water like discarded plastic or lead bullets, accidentally shooting other human, destroying local neighborhood with reckless behaviors, etc, I'm cool with them hunting and fishing with licenses (limiting how much each hunter can hunt and fisher can catch).

I don't think it is cost effective to get meat and fish from these activities though, it is just so much cheaper and easier to get it from the store.
 
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