The Other Red Meat
If you're visiting this website, you're probably not a vegetarian. But if you are, we don't have a problem with that.
Good for you. It can be a healthy way to eat, and it's good for the planet. Although you may not want to buy our book for
yourself, please remember that it would make a tremendously thoughtful gift for all of your non-vegetarian friends.
Now here's what we do have a problem with--people who eat meat but don't approve of hunting. One could rationally
argue that vegetarian anti-hunters have a right to their views--or at least a certain consistency to their views. But
anti-hunters who buy their steaks at the supermarket just don't have a leg of lamb to stand on.
We believe it's good to for shoppers to be honest with themselves about where meat comes from. Meat doesn't come
from the supermarket, and it doesn't come from a Styrofoam tray wrapped in transparent plastic. That's easy to forget
when those Styrofoam trays have a nice little blotter in the bottom, one that protects us from ever being forced to
glimpse a single drop of... Blood.
In fact, when viewed more rationally, many of the best arguments against eating meat are far less valid when that meat
is from wild birds or animals that have been humanely harvested. We won't belabor the obvious factory-farm
comparisons; we don't want to offend any hard-working readers whose annual hunting trip is their only respite from the
daily drudgery of hog farming.
Suffice it to say that deer have lived wild and free; they haven't spent their entire life confined to a pen or feedlot. Most
of them are harvested at least as humanely as animals in a slaughterhouse. (In Gut It. Cut It. Cook It., we'll tell you more
about how to make sure that's true when you shoot your deer.)
On occasion, deer have been known to sneak out into the fields of farmers who aren't growing their corn, soybeans, and
alfalfa organically. Technically, that may make for venison that couldn't be certified as organically grown. But even then,
those crops only make up a small part of the deer's diet. Most deer truly are "grass-fed."*
That's one of the things that makes venison better for the environment and better for you. Venison is leaner than most
beef, and it contains higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial compounds. With today's emphasis on
eating leaner, eating organic, and eating locally, what could be more perfect than venison?
*OK. Strictly speaking, deer prefer shrubs and foliage that are more nutritious and higher in protein than grass would be. Biologists would say deer
are "browsers" rather than "grazers." But you get the idea.