How do you talk about your game meat and the benefits of hunting on social media?
It’s time to stop using the words organic and hunting in the same sentence. Some of you may disagree with me on this.
Using the term organic when referring to wildlife hurts more than it helps. It should not be a term used by hunters to describe the benefits of hunting for food over store-bought animal protein. If it is, it is only truthful on a small scale.
You see the term everywhere. You think it is better for you. You believe you are putting something in your body that is better than store bought.
But there are definitely some differences.
All plant and animal protein are organic no matter how it is raised or produced. The true definition of organic in terms of science is related to whether or not it is made up of carbon-based compounds derived from living organisms. Science is neat right?
However, I don’t know anyone on any social media platform using the term organic in reference to the scientific definition. If they were, there would be no need to differentiate it from store-bought animal protein and no need for discussion with your friends or followers about it.
I’ll get back to organic in a minute.
Use of antibiotics
There are other arguments for eating game over farmed/ranched protein such as it is free of antibiotics. Well, there are no antibiotics in any meat that you buy from any store…ever. Don’t believe the marketing campaigns. There are protocols in place to prevent the use of animal protein that has been treated with antibiotics in the food supply for humans or pets.
Use of hormones
Estrogenic hormones occur naturally in all animals, including wildlife, and if any hormones were used on farmed animals, the difference is so minute you’ll never consume enough in more than a lifetime to make any difference. Where there may be potential issues with hormones on the environment is the levels in manure and human waste. But, this is a discussion for another day. Source: Use of Hormones in Animal Production. W. Velle. Veterinary College of Norway.
Calling it organic
So why does it hurt to talk about hunting as providing the best organic meat around?
The answer is simple. Unless you’re in some remote location where animals have zero access to humanly cultivated plants, your meat is not organic by the terms set forth by USDA, domestic and international certification associations, or any marketing campaigns.
Most of the time, your use of the term is false.
Wildlife eat crops and they don’t stay in organic certified fields.
In order to be certified organic by USDA and other associations, the game needs to be raised free of synthetic anything for at least three consecutive years without infractions to be considered “organic” by certification or marketing standards. This means zero synthetically produced feed.
That corn feeder? That food plot? That bait? The neighbor’s corn field? The high fence ranch? Not organic.
There is enough stigma around hunting that we don’t need to add to it. It’s time to stop using the term.
We may not be able to get people to stop believing the marketing farce in their everyday lives but we can stop spreading the myth when referring to the type of protein we consume.
How do you talk about wildlife meat in a way that isn’t false?
Talk about how one comes by filling their freezer through ethically and legally taken animals for consumption.
Talk instead about the health benefits that wildlife protein is lower in grams of fat per serving and has less saturated fat than other sources of red meat such as beef. It also has fewer calories than chicken per serving.
Venison does have more protein per serving than beef, but 1 or 2 grams is hardly worth talking about.
After this, wildlife nutrient and health differences are minor. For example, ground beef that is 85% lean has less cholesterol than venison so be careful where your health benefits conversation reaches. Vitamins and amino differences between wildlife protein and farmed protein are also minor.
Be mindful of your sources for research. They can lead you to believe that wildlife is extremely more healthy than farmed animal protein. They will also tell you it is cheaper. If you’ve ever hunted, you know that your wildlife harvest wasn’t a cheap endeavor and likely not less expensive to produce than beef.
Your trip to the grocery store will cost minimal fuel, vehicle maintenance and a few pennies from your pocket.
Your game meat will cost you your rifle or bow, cartridges or arrows and broadheads, hunting license, camouflage, blind or stand if you use one, maps, packs, boots, fuel for scouting, tent or trailer, food for your hunting trip, airfare or travel costs if you go out of state or country, etc. The only time game meat may be more economical for someone is if you’re receiving the gift of game meat from your friend or purchasing it in the market as you would beef without putting in any of the work.
While many folks in the hunting community will disagree with this article, there is undeniable truth to what is written. As a group it is up to us to portray hunting and consumption of animal protein in a positive light and I believe starting with truth is the best option.