Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review: Natural Born Killer? By Joel MacCharles

After attending a preserve swap hosted by @WellPreserved, I was excited to discover an article entitled Natural Born Killer? Dealing with thedeath of my dinner in the Fall 2012 issue of Edible Toronto. The subject matter of the article is Joel MacCharles' complicated, confusing, and intricate relationship with killing. He grew up in a family of hunters who taught him that “We don't catch things. We kill them.” Although the description of the death of the deer, MacCharles' first experience with the death of an animal, could be more compelling and less reliant on cliques such as 'the flick of a light switch', MacCharles is successfully able to describe the complicated nature of the hunter's relationship with death. 
(Photo is an excerpt from the article)

Hunters are believed to be in constant contact with the game they seek and are perceived to have many successful hunting trips. The definition of a successful hunt is the killing of an animal or two. It was illuminating to discover that this 39 year old man's father had killed less than six large animals because “killing isn't a synonym for hunting; it's sometimes a part of it.” Although, when I first read the description of MacCharles' hunting record I thought that either he is lying or he is a bad hunter!
Hunters rarely speak of their pastime as the conversation around hunting can quickly become heated. Hunters should speak about their complicated, confusing, and intricate relationship with killing as doing so may prevent the rest of society from quickly glamorizing or villainizing them. MacCharles states that “the silence of many food hunters has left a vocal minority casting a shadow over our lifestyle that is tough to dispel.” MacCharles's relationship to killing is not as simple as kill then eat. He has a harder time justifying the consumption of a small bird, whose body can only feed one or two people than larger game that can feed many. This is an interesting position and really describes the complicated views that hunters possess. This voice is lost when individuals such as MacCharles are not given a voice to describe their motivation regarding hunting.

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