Meaty Matters; At the Heart of the New-age Hunt

”Killing a large animal is lot of work, the nervous system does not stop immediately and it can even be dangerous. Cutting it apart is grueling. You’re taking the legs and the shoulders, etc. but there’s still a frame that you’re looking at.” -Blair Massie
We interviewed Canadian coffee barrista Blair Massie while enjoying a nice latte at Alchemy, the very pleasant coffee and bookstore on Barrack Street in Cork.
Blair grew up in Vancouver but has travelled and lived several places, including Mexico and the Australian Outback.
He has a very specific relation to what he eats and where it comes from. He makes an effort to get organic eggs and dairy products, but doesn’t use any animal-sourced supplements, such as fish oil, because it’s important to him to be present when the life is taken.
‘If it’s going to be used by me, it’s my responsibility to be present and go through the process.’
It was while catching and killing a barracuda on a deep sea fishing trip in Mexico that Blair began thinking this way. ‘It was this sense of having its blood on my hands, after having been so patient, harvesting this fish for its energy; it all felt like a reward. I got a great respet for the direct experience, for our interconnectedness’.
Working on a cattle station in the Outback in Australia, further convinced him that killing and eating meat ‘affects our consciousness’. During his work at the station, he shot two cows with a rifle and skinned them. The smell, the unpleasant toughness of the meat, the flies; it has all stayed with him, and in reaction he settled into an almost vegetarian lifestyle. The exception, 3 or 4 times a year, is when Blair eats fish or meat that he has hunted or caught.
This interesting mix of hunter-gatherer action and new-age spirituality is described in detail in Anthony Mauro’s book The New Age Hunter. This new kind of hunter wants not only to have talent and disciplin, but also to be able to ‘respond to the unscripted nature of hunting situations’. The book describes an ethical code of conduct; ‘the clean kill’, ‘the fair chase’, and many other details.

'But dad, no one goes round hunting and gathering anymore. It's just so . . . paleolithic!'

There is no question this practice has more animal welfare than any factory farm. So why does it bring such mixed reaction? Both ethical vegetarians and traditional meat eaters are made uncomfortable about the idea, although basically for opposite reasons. Can there be a new-age way of killing and eating animals? Let us know your opinions or experiences in this very meaty matter, and we’ll discuss it!

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