For most of us, stocking up on beef, pork or chicken requires a shopping cart, a few minutes cruising the meat case at the local supermarket, and a valid credit card.
For Lisa Taylor, a 30-year-old wife and mother, it involves hunting and butchering deer, rabbits, and even foxes. Not only is Taylor unafraid to acknowledge her involvement in hunting, she’s created a Facebook page titled, “Lisa’s Shooting and Hunting Experience.”
The page has more than 15,000 followers who revel in the photos of Taylor “posing next to deer and rabbit carcasses with her high-powered rifle,” as The Sun newspaper described it.
“Controversial” may not be a strong enough word to describe Taylor’s assertion.
On her Facebook page she posted a photo of a dead fox, which she said she dispatched because that species “threatens her livelihood by killing her game.” That may hold true as far as rabbits are concerned, but there’s not a stretch of countryside on Earth where rabbits are being hunted to extinction by foxes.
Taylor told the newspaper that she fed the fox meat to her pet hawk, part of her “mission” to utilize all of the animals she hunts.
“I pose for pictures with my game animal that I’ve hunted because I’m proud of what I have achieved on the hunt,” Taylor told The Sun. “It’s no different [than] taking a selfie of your steak in a restaurant, just mine is what your food looked like before it was presented on your plate.”
Hunters Versus Producers
Of course, the majority of the public, here and abroad, disapprove of hunting because it involves the death of an animal. Nobody mourns the death of a rabbit when a fox or hawk dispatches it, but if a human does the deed … OMG!!!
However, Taylor manages to alienate even people like me, someone who’s not a hunter but who supports others’ rights to pursue the activity. That’s because she doesn’t merely justify hunting as a traditional way of producing sustenance, she declares that it’s a superior alternative to raising livestock.
As the newspaper reported, “She makes full use of everything she kills, and offers animals better lives — and cleaner deaths — than farmed livestock could ever dream of.”
“The reason I buy from butchers and hunt is because I’m not supporting the local slaughterhouses or caged-up animals by doing so,” she said.
That narrows even further the segment of the population who might be inclined to support her position on hunting, which is already a thin slice of the populace in the UK, thanks to a social structure very different from the United States.
An article in Fieldsports Scotland titled, “Hunters are being Hunted,” explained, “The general population of the UK are not from country back-rounds, so the understanding of hunting pursuits and practices are very limited and hidden by myths and beliefs of illegal practices and conspiracies.
“In the perception of the average ‘non-country folk,’ hunting is for the rich and the few.”
That perception stems from centuries of British royalty, who maintained castles and hunting lodges and on whose country estates the genteel sport of fox hunting on horseback was conducted. Plus, in Britain, class distinctions are enforced by heritage and titles, hence the uproar years ago when Prince Charles announced that he would be marrying a “commoner,” the late Diana Spencer.
Of course, on our side of The Pond, we don’t use royal lineage to separate the commoners from the elite. We use bank accounts instead.
According to Fieldsports Scotland, hunting in the UK is a $2.65 billion dollar industry (only they calculated the value in pounds sterling), but truth be told, there is very little PR traction to be gained with an economic argument.
Statistics about money and jobs are far less impactful than photos of dead deer and rabbits as far as the public on both sides of the Atlantic are concerned.
Which is why Taylor has faced an extreme backlash — including death threats — from people who hate her involvement in hunting.
On one hand, I applaud her forthright stance on hunting ethics.
On the other hand, I wish she’d stick to the using-all-of-the-animal, killing-only-for-eating arguments, and leave the horrors-of-the-slaughterhouse mantra to the PETA people who hate everything involving meat-eating.
They don’t need any help from a young woman who’s a member of their primary demographic.
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.