The idea of going back to the basics for self-sufficient living is hardly new, but many people are choosing to do just that for a variety of reasons and in various levels of commitment. In 2011, Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged to eat only animals that he killed himself. Although his personal challenge lasted just one year, it sparked an interest of living off the land for many. The Eat What You Kill Movement has supporters from survival, nutritional, and ethical standpoints. Survivalists argue that self-sufficient living allows one to rely and live off of the land, completely independent from societal norms such as trips to the local supermarkets. Those following the trend for nutritional purposes, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Joe Rogan, are attempting to avoid antibiotics and hormones commonly found in store bought meats. Ethical supporters of the movement believe that they are being compassionate to the animals they are eating.
Catherine Friend, author of The Compassionate Carnivore, defined compassionate carnivores as those who show compassion to animals but still eat meat. The main idea is if you only eat meat from animals you kill yourself, the animals avoid the torturous conditions of factory farming. However, the animals are now likely to face a failed attempt at a humane death at a makeshift slaughterhouse. Even the most experienced hunters fail to have perfect accuracy when it comes to an “instant death shot”. In the many scenarios in which an injured animal runs off before the hunter is able to finish the job, the animal is likely to die a slow and painful death bleeding out in the woods.
The idea of being able to compassionately kill anything is as oxymoronic as it sounds. The general notion of not supporting factory farming has great intentions but falls short with this trend. Although those that live off the land and raise their own farm animals with love and care offer a much better upbringing than a life on a factory farm, there is still too much left up for chance. Without proper training, it is more likely that a horror story will arise, than a humane killing. For one to say boycott factory farming and therefore only eat animals that one has personally killed is commendable, but calling it compassionate carnivorism is not.