More and more of us are taking an interest in the provenance of our food, and like to find out where and how it was produced. Nowhere is this more the case than with the meat we eat. While to some people eating meat is totally unethical and immoral, and should be avoided completely, a sizable number of us take a less strict stance, believing that it's ethically justifiable to kill and eat animals, providing that certain standards are adhered to. The welfare of the animal, under this way of thinking, is paramount and takes precedence over such considerations as profit, economy and availability.
The animal must be given the chance to live a life free from suffering, in conditions that allow it to express its natural behaviours, and when the time comes for slaughter the process should be as free of stress and pain as is humanly achievable - which is, in this day and age, almost wholly so. Under these standards, what could come higher on the ethical list than game such as venison, pheasant, or wild duck? Opponents of game will often base their dislike of the subject on the fact that the usual method of killing the animals is through shooting, which suffers from a reputation problem by being linked in with other 'blood sports' such as fox hunting. In contrast to cruel sports, though, the results of a game shoot will be destined for the pot, whether that of the shooter directly or to a member of the public through a game dealer. The animals are not being killed cruelly, and with a good marksman will not feel any pain. If we set aside any misgivings engendered by the link with sport, we can see that game is probably the most ethically sound meat we can eat. There's no classification of meats into free range or organic here - each animal lived a completely free life, behaving exactly as its species has evolved to, and was very likely to have met its end without any stress or pain at all.
It will have eaten a completely natural diet, and will not have been given any routine medication such as antibiotics or growth hormones. It will not have lived in cramped, overcrowded, conditions, and will have in fact avoided almost all contact with humans completely! Compare this to the misery we routinely inflict on intensively reared animals such as broiler chickens, pigs, and veal calves, both in life and death, and it's clear that game animals will have had much the preferable existence and dispatch, whatever prejudices we may hold against those who shoot as a sport. And luckily for ethical meat eaters, game is amongst the most delicious food we'll ever put on our plates!.
Andrea is a food writer for ptkasa.org where you can read articles on subjects as varied as poetry and banking