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Killing for food (not hunting)

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To all those who are having trouble with this idea.


Don't your boys fish? Round here kids fish. We took tigers ice fishing. We're having salmon for dinner.


Is it the feathers and fur and warm blood that is a problem?

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To all those who are having trouble with this idea.


Don't your boys fish? Round here kids fish. We took tigers ice fishing. We're having salmon for dinner.


Is it the feathers and fur and warm blood that is a problem?

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To answer the question...


No, my boy(s) do not hunt at this age. Fishing (when we find time to do it) is limited to catch and release only.


The issue is not the morality of killing for food. Humans are omnivores (although that is an elective condition) therefore killing is essential and therefore not the issue. (Unless you are killing more than you consume, which is immoral.)


It is the understanding of what killing is by boys that do not comprehend the impact of killing that is the moral issue.


Most (not all) adults understand the morality of killing. Few (if any) under the age of 18 (or even 25) comprehend the moral issue to a significant extent. It can (and does) place an insignificance to life that can (and does) cause abhorrent behavior in society. That is while children NEVER slaughtered animals on farms unless it was the only alternative to survival.


Unless I have missed something, the PRIMARY goal of Scouting is to mold boys into men of good character that will perform above the norm in SOCIETY. The use of outdoor activities is used as a TOOL to that goal (to instill self confidence, a sense of values, etc.), and that ability is NOT the goal of Scouting in and of itself.(This message has been edited by Engineer61)

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developing character, while an important goal, is not the only goal. Physical fitness is an equal top goal, as is self-reliance. Part of self-reliance is being able to procure food.

Not too many campouts are spent plowing the soil, sowing the seeds, and then harvesting. With the emphasis on camping, hiking, woodcraft & outdoor activities, Scouting is closer to being hunter-gatherers than being farmers. And, yes, as hunter-gatherers children hunted and respected life.

Enough of me! Let the founders speak:

According to Boy Scouts of Americas Charter The purpose of this corporation shall be to promote . . . the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues . . . . 36 U.S.C. 30902 (2003).



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"The purpose of this corporation shall be to promote . . . the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in Scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues . . . . 36 U.S.C. 30902 (2003)."


^^ Boomer, every single aspect of those ideals can be achieved without killing animals.

When did self-reliance get turned into the need to procure food via the killing of domestic animals?


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Wow lots to comment on!



If you thought I was making an excuse, I wasnt clear. I am very proud of my guys for coming up with some exciting ideas and taking the initiative to figure out how to make them happen. Im not making an excuse Im sharing a victory. We have no vegetarians in the troop I serve, so everyone is involved in the death of living animals for food, even if they dont think about that part of the process.


Local public sentiment? Irrelevant as far as Im concerned. We dont take a community poll before doing what we believe is right within the boundaries established by the law and BSA regulations. Sentiment of the families within our troop is the only sentiment about which I am concerned. Our families know we sometimes do some things which are above and beyond the norm in Boy Scouting. Thats why most of them joined the troop I serve.


Local law? Researched and no issue.


Religious contradictions? None of which I am aware. Parents knew plans ahead of time and had opportunity to comment. As I said earlier, there were some questions and concerns which we resolved.


Inappropriate PLC desires? BSA doesnt say anything at all about it. Just to be sure, we checked with our DE. When the boys have brought up things like Paint Ball and Air Soft wars, we turn them off because BSA clearly prohibits these things. (Not to mention they clearly are not safe.) They havent thought of modifying semi-auto weapons into fully-auto, yet, but we do have certified BSA gun instructors in the troop.


Philosophy/Moral impact of killing? (See more below)


Scouting, moral man, outdoor activities, other way around? I have no idea what youre trying to say here.


Closely monitoring your boys troop and SMs? I must disagree. Dont just monitor. Get involved, trained, and in the game.


Fishing catch and release only? Why? No interest in earning Fishing MB, I guess. One of my earliest outdoor memories was going fishing with my father and the pride of knowing I helped put the food on the table that night. By the way, BSA sets you up with everything you need to clean and cook fish in the Boundary Waters. The last time I was there, the guys were desperate to catch more fish because it was an older crew and we didnt have as much food as they wanted.


Is the PRIMARY goal of Scouting to mold boys into men of good character? Yes - absolutely agree! I just happen to believe its MORE ethical for meat eaters to understand where their meat is really coming from. Also, since this was outside of our experience as a troop, the guys got to work through the process of coming up with a new idea, overcoming obstacles, and figuring out how to make it happen.




Agreed there is indeed so much more to scouting than reenacting a survivor episode. But guys love watching that show and whats the harm in figuring out how to let them experience a little bit of it for themselves? Its a good test of many scout skills. Forgetting the rabbit for a moment, there is a HUGE benefit in getting them to learn how to prepare shelters using limited materials, practice building signal fires which can be ignited with certainty with a moments notice, purifying water, finding directions without a compass, etc.



OK now heres a quick description of how we made this happen. Some of this is repeated, but it might help to put it all in one place. For those of you in hunting areas, you could probably skip some of these steps. We took it easy because we realized this was the first time most of the guys had ever seen anything like this.


#1. It was important to make it clear that life is precious. When you eat meat, an animal gave up its life and this is not to be taken lightly. We respect that life and we do our best to make its termination quick and as painless as possible. Wasting what we kill is immoral. We do not tolerate the indiscriminate killing of any creature. The troop rule is that if you kill anything bigger than a cockroach, you eat it. The guys know without a shadow of doubt that I am totally serious about this.


#2. We purchased rabbits which had been raised for the purpose of butchering. This required a lot more logistics, but it just seemed wrong to buy rabbits from a pet store.


#3. Only a few people saw the rabbits alive. This was to minimize the shock impact.


#4. The killing of the rabbits was not the frenzied bloodbath some seem to be imagining. It was conducted by the SPL and ASPLs with adult supervision. These guys are in high school and their parents were consulted. I wont go into precise details, but we used the technique recommended by the rabbit farmer. It was very quick and bloodless.


#5. After the rabbits were killed, they were given to patrols. Patrol leaders had already been trained in cleaning rabbits. Adults oversaw, advised, and assisted. Some of the boys got their hands dirty. Some did not. No big deal either way.


For those of you wondering how we managed to do something like this, I offer this as a guideline for a program enhancer. For those who are convinced I am running a tribe of junior barbarians, Im probably never going to convince you otherwise.


This worked out so well for our group, I am quite certain we will be doing this every year or so as part of our annual survival campout experience. The word has certainly traveled through local scouting circles. We have signed up all of the new Webelos Crossovers we can handle and are now closed for recruiting.


I steadfastly believe that in order to mold them into men of good character, we have to keep them in the game long enough to mature. Sometimes being a little outrageous keeps it interesting. Others say being a little dangerous is what a young man needs to become truly alive. (Ref: Wild at Heart, by John Eldredge)

(This message has been edited by Mike F)

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Engineer, You are selling your boys short. I've seen boys take the life of an animal and they obtain a respect for life that many kids and adults never reach.


Scouting is about teaching boys to be responsible men. Killing an animal can absolutely be an appropriate activity for most young boys and can help them take one step closer to being a responsible man.


You are wrong to state that killing animals causes "abhorrent behavior in society". There is no proof of that and millions of examples to disprove it. You are also wrong to say that throughout history children "NEVER" participated in killings on farms. My own grade school pal gathered chickens for his dad and had the job of burning hair off of the pigs to be processed. In even older days, the boys were often considered men at age 17. Young boys often brought home small game for the table.


The bottom line is that if you buy meat or leather, you are paying someone else to kill for you. Assigning morality to paying for a kill Vs. doing it yourself is silly and hypocritical.

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The promoters of this activity can justify it to themselves however they chose. You can hide behind whatever twist of the BSA manual you like. You can even justify it by citing the necessities of the food chain.


But what you have done *is* morally questionable at best.


BSA is NOT survival school. And in the mainstream, where 99.99% of these boys live, BSA *must* teach values that the rest of society demands.


I'll also guarantee that if my SM allows that to happen with my Troop, it will be his last day of involvement with that Troop, because the parents in my Troop would not stand for it.



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I just gotta weight in on this...


I've been on travel and busy with work/family/Scouting issues, so have not been able to be as active as I have in the past, but this issue deserves a few moments.


I think this is a brilliant idea! Thanks Mike F for the posting and discussing your experience.


If we can pull it off, and the PLC is interested, I'd love to do this in our Troop. If not rabbits, perchance squirrels?


I firmly believe that if you eat meat, at some point in your life you should be a part of how that life came to the plate. I thoroughly disagree with those who believe that kids should not be a part of a hunt and killing of an animal for food. I think everyone should know that meat really does not come from the supermarket.


If the Scout or parents have a problem with this, no problem, they do not need to participate.


For many years I've been advocating a summer camp pig, with a posting on the subject at this forum... http://www.scouter.com/forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=224051

Basically, a pig is in a sturdy pen at a summer camp, and gets all of the un-eaten food from the dinning hall. Scouts care for the pig as they earn the Animal Science merit badge. Each week the pig grows bigger as another group of Scouts care for it as they work on the merit badge. The health of the animal is monitored by a vet and feed adjusted / supplemented as needed. The last week of camp culminates mid-week as the Scouts learn how and animal is slaughtered. They then learn about the various cuts of meet and how to cook them. At the campfire on Friday night everyone enjoys a Pork BBQ.


Great job Mike F - you'd be welcome at our Troop anytime!!

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This seems like a good & worthwhile activity for Scouts who have earned wilderness survival mb, and want to extend their training. The knowledge and practical experience will serve them well during times of emergency such as the recent trauma in Haiti when store-bought food disappeared

Both Seton and Dan Beard encouraged Scouts to go hunting (and eating what they killed), although I would draw the line at hunting elephant. They viewed hunting as the refinement and ultimate test of a person's skills in woodcraft and self-reliance. Even Baden-Powell told his boys that fresh caught fried snake was better then eel.

This would , of course, be an optional activity; no-one would be forced to attend




"in the mainstream, where 99.99% of these boys live, BSA *must* teach values that the rest of society demands." like how to be a sissified pantywaist


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I will certainly be forwarding this idea to my troop's PLC. And I feel certain that most, if not all, would be very interested.


Fortunately for us, the 4H kids right down the road raise meat rabbits and sell them for $5 each.



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I suppose I'll just have to make sure that if my son ever gets stranded ( wether by airline acident, train wreck, or hiking incident) that he gets stranded next to a Long John Silver's or Mikey D's!


Because everybody knows that fast food was never "killed" it was just born into patties!

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