A Rewilding Journey: Meat is Murder?
I recently skinned and butchered a roe deer. Well actually, two of them.
They were bought directly from the Welsh Government after being shot and killed by rangers as part of an annul cull. We drove to pick them up from a larder, where they’d been had been hung for weeks after having their heads, organs and hooves removed. I watched with curiosity as they were reeled out by the rangers that shot them on meat hooks. They were wrapped in black bags and loaded into the back of our car.
We took them back to my father-in-law’s house to be processed. It was a beautifully sunny day, so we strung them up outside in a tree. The knives and trays were brought out and I was taught to skin and butcher the innocent and once living creature by my father-in-law, Peter, a longtime forager and regular buyer of high quality, unprocessed meat.
Humans killing wildlife; the core of what bothers me about our current way of living. And yet, I supported it by partaking in this. I’d help load their lifeless bodies into the car and here I was preparing them for human consumption.
Both came with information tags added by the rangers and on reading I learned one was a male and the other was female, when they were shot and who by. You could tell them apart by the thickness of their necks — the female’s being the more slender of the two. Excruciatingly, I imagined them alive and spritely with their big beautiful eyes, quietly moving through the forest on dainty hooves. The female, once as a mother, the young male aspiring to victory in the coming rutting season.
The cognitive dissonance was, and still is real, so let’s attempt to unpack it.
A Deer Dilemma
I have immense respect for anything, especially something the size of a deer that can survive in the little wilderness left in Britain. They don’t get to nip out to a supermarket to select from a seemingly infinite supply of food. They can’t order a takeout if they’re feeling a big groggy or have a bad leg. When the wind and…