Photo: iStock/Wavebreakmedia

Over the weekend I received an email from a reader who made it very clear they did not subscribe to Bowhunting World magazine but started skimming while waiting for medical appointments. The email went on, in a very crude way, to let me know that while the writer ate meat regularly, they weren’t in any way involved in the slaughter of animals. In short, they argued that killing for meat was wrong, and that if I want to purchase meat, I should do so at a grocery store or restaurant. They let me know that Texas Roadhouse makes a great steak.

I’m not opposed to the slaughtering of cows for meat. In fact, I love a juicy New York strip. But in order for me — or my anti-hunting email friend — to have that delicious steak, a cow has to die. There’s no getting around that.

According to Statista, 24.96 billion pounds of beef were processed in the U.S. in 2016. In 2017, that number rose to 26.4 billion, and for 2018, is forecasted to rise to 27.6 billion. Pause for just a second and think about the number of cows that have to die to make 27.6 billion pounds of beef. It’s a bunch.

As this article on Market Watch says, just 3 percent of Americans adhere to a strict vegan or vegetarian diet. That means 97 percent of Americans consume meat of some kind. And that means that, like it or not, 97 percent of Americans are OK with killing animals for food.

But somehow many of those happy omnivores don’t seem to understand the connection between the steak that arrives on their plate at a Texas Roadhouse and the slaughterhouse that made that steak possible. Because they didn’t harvest, clean, cut and package that meat themselves, there is a serious disconnect.

It’s always been strange to me how meat-eating anti-hunters believe they hold the moral high ground because they don’t do the actual killing themselves. Perhaps they feel that because they have no desire to kill an animal, and perhaps because they feel a vague sense of regret when they consider the source of their bacon cheeseburger, they believe they’re more ethical than hunters, who they presume are bloodthirsty killers looking to shoot at anything that moves simply for the fun of it.

Here’s the deal: I hunt, like many reading this, to provide my family with the cleanest, purest form of protein available. I choose to purchase hunting licenses and go out and harvest my own meat. I’m killing with my bow.

It’s fine with me if someone doesn’t want to hunt for their own food. You’re not going to find any judgment here. But what I wish I could make the gentleman who emailed me and all those omnivorous anti-hunters understand is this: when you go to the grocery store and buy packaged hamburger or out to the local steakhouse for a juicy ribeye, you’re killing as well.

You’re just doing it with your credit card.