I watched a BuzzFeed video where a hunter and a vegan were forced to spend 24 handcuffed hours together. I love these handcuffed videos because they provide an open and respectful way to understand two seemingly polar opposite views.
Before watching this video, I thought people who hunted animals were these crazy, bloodthirsty people who got pleasure out of killing something. Yes, there are those who kill for sport but, this should not tarnish the reputation of hunters who kill animals for food.
I myself could never kill an animal for food and live by the idea that if I don't have to eat an animal to live, why should I? Yet, I recognize that some people want to eat meat. While I don't agree with their dietary desires, I do have a great deal of respect for people who kill the animal they are going to eat themselves or, at the very least, buy from a respectful butcher.
Unlike factory farming that treats animals like lifeless things to be sold and packaged, hunters who hunt for food treat animals as a living thing. Yes, there is no humane way to kill something but there is a respectful way. The epitome of which is represented by Native American hunting rituals. Native Americans only hunted animals when they needed them and used every part of the animal so as not to take any part of the animal for granted.
The well renowned Native American Chief, Chief Seattle, stated, "The beasts are our brothers, and we kill only to stay alive." Unlike popular stereotypes, Native Americans who could rely on agriculture would eat a largely plant-based diet and would eat meat only sparingly (On the "right to hunt" by a Native American Vegan).
Many Americans are privileged enough that we can fully rely on plant-based food and do not need to kill animals to survive. I understand that many people would have a hard time with this transition due to everything from convenience to tradition and that is okay. If all the meat eaters could simply start with having the respect for animals that a hunter does, I feel this will lead to a more plant-based and animal-friendly future. After all, there is a reason Native Americans were able to hunt animals for many years without causing mass extinction before the settlers arrived. This can only be attributed to respect.