As a hunter, the question comes up all the time: how can I justify the killing of animals for food? Steven Rinella says his reply varies according to the circumstances, "particularly to whether or not the person is actually willing to hear my response".
In this case, with an inquisitor who was happy to listen, Steven was able to give this excellent reply, which neatly encapsulates a number of issues that tend to typify any meeting of meat eaters and vegans:
- killing and murder
- respect for and understanding of animals
- humans are an animal species that has always hunted
- individual life as a sacred thing.
"To not hunt is a fairly new experiment in the human sense," Rinella says. "Like all predatory animals with canine teeth, we eat meat."
"Isn't this just a rationalisation for murdering innocent creatures?" asks the vegan.
Rinella, the author of American Buffalo and this new book, Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter, admits an admiration for veganism. His approach is a contrast to the almost religious fervour with which some vegans seemingly try to enforce their ideology on others, especially hunters.
Check out the exchange in this video: