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The Ethics of Eating Invasive Species

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TEXAS WILD BOAR

If you eat it, how do you think meat gets to your table? If you were to order wild boar at a fancy restaurant - how do you think it died? I find ways to feel better about death, by not looking at it, or choosing to see slaughter in a certain light. But its very real, and very true and often gruesome. Sure there are faster more efficient ways (no doubt the giant operations have it down better than anyone), but if I believe it is OK to kill something for my benefit, very often, it is a challenging process -- Even in those places where there are "happy" pigs, or "happy" turkeys.

I think it is OK to kill animals for nutrition/sustenance, for celebration and for flavor/culture -- and in this case, it was OK for another reason. Us humans have done a number on this earth: We've built cities, introduced species, and polluted. We have made our mark and there is no going back. Because we have such a footprint, we now have to do some management of the ecosystem. Killing those pigs was controlling the mess we have made so that other plants and animals can live. There may be other ways to do this, but killing them is the current solution. Thus, this was probably the most "sustainable" meal we could have eaten. About as good as road kill. These animals would be killed and, depending on who dispatched them, they would be used, or left to rot (or to be eaten by other animals).

Interestingly enough, before we ever came out to San Antonio, when we mentioned trapping or hunting wild boar, we received encouraging enthusiasm and excitement. When the episode came out, the reaction was very different: Many thought it was gruesome; Some appreciated the "real" factor; others wondered why we showed the slaughter of a pig in front of its family. I think the cage and babies is what got to people, but a shot to the head is a much faster way to take the animals lives (and yes, the babies were killed too) than hunting them. Though it was uncomfortable to see, I felt it was important to show the killing of a pig despite it not being user-friendly. It is what happens. If we hadn't shown the killing, the response to the episode would have been "oh cool - a pig roast!" But it wouldn't have been the whole story. Most farmers in TX want to kill ALL feral pigs. We've heard from vegetarian vegetable farmers who use trapping to save their crops.

Eating "wild" food is all great and sustainable until we see how its done and killing an animal is never pretty, it's real. And that's what we are trying to show.

All that being said. I really appreciate the challenging questions. You are making me think and I hope we can continue the dialogue. Thanks!

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