Tag Archives: yellowstone

Shoot to Eat

I’m about to do something new.

It’ll probably upset some of you.

Some of you will see the logic and understand, and probably find yourself in a position much like the one I’m kind of in right now.

I eat meat and I wear leather. I eat eggs too. The fact is there are many things that I encounter either knowingly or unknowingly that require an animal to be killed, or kept constrained, to enable me and you to do and have certain things.

I love animals. I’ve always had pets. Fish, cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, a snake and even a rescue crow.

I couldn’t bring myself to shoot one though. Even taking the decision to have one put down at the vets is unbearably tough, but I put the animal first and do what is best for it. Having a severely ill pet that is being kept alive on medication isn’t the nicest thing for an animal; It’s no way to live.

I’ve seen people at the vets with one legged cats whose backsides are prolapsed, cataract in both eyes, dribbling blood, breathing painfully and drugged up to the hilt to stay alive because the owner ‘really loves them‘. Bullshit; if you love them, then you really need to know when to let them go.

I’ve paid to have terminally ill chickens put down before; I could’ve physically done it myself, but it was a pet and I couldn’t mentally bring myself to do it. Did we eat it afterwards? Hell no! She was a pet. Even our hens that died naturally were never eaten. They had names!

My lad with our beautiful rescued hens.

My lad with our beautiful rescued hens.

It was keeping the chickens that made me question what we as a species do to other animals that we harvest for their various meats, skins, eggs, milk, shitty coffee etc. They were all rescue hens; ex-factory farm egg layers, beyond their useful lives and heading to a shredder whilst alive. We rescued many over time, and the eggs they gave us in their retirement were the best ever! Better than any top quality, top price ‘free range’ store purchased eggs. The eggs were vibrant in colour and so full of flavour. If you’ve not raised chickens and had real free range eggs, then you wouldn’t appreciate what they are like. Our girls had full freedom in the garden. They had great food, shelter, water, healthcare and love.

Even shop brought free range eggs are a con. To be ‘free range‘ each hen must have a minimum amount of room to itself.

Factory hens are so cruelly and closely packed together that they are wedged together and upon release (to be shredded)after a ‘useful life’ of about 18 months, some can hardly walk. Some even break their legs trying because they were so tightly packed their legs never developed. Sickening.


Battery hens. A few left to run around outside makes this ‘free range’…

But free range hens are okay, yeah? Well, a few are, but others egg producers bend the rules so that they can say that their hens are free range. They wedge most of their birds together in cages, but let a handful run around outside. Because a few run around outside, on average each bird at the factory farm has a lot more space – enough to legally say they are free range hens. Yeah, free range can be just as bad as non-free range, but at least you pay more and think you’re doing the right thing.

This is who your egg came from.

This is who your egg came from.

It’s the same with sheep, cows, pigs etc. There are some very good farms out there that really look after their livestock, and despatch them humanely, but a greater number of animal produce suppliers just do enough to be able to operate legally.

A nice bit of bacon?

A nice bit of bacon?

I’m against hunting for fun. Killing something just because it is rare, or its a challenge, or just because you can, is not something I appreciate in the slightest. I’ll eat, wear, use animal products, but I detest those that hunt for fun.

Some people go to far with animal rights though. Some people don’t fully appreciate animal husbandry and the good it does for the animal population.

Foxes. Yes, they can do all sorts of damage, and sometimes need humane culling. Ripping them apart with dogs after baiting and chasing them on horseback is not humane.

Badgers, rabbits, rats, pigeons, crows, deer etc. They can cause all sorts of problems to livestock and agriculture. By letting their numbers get out of hand you can end up with a lot of sick animals with insufficient food sources for them to live, and the larger numbers cause detriment to the environment and other animals. By careful land and animal management the balance can be kept. Only an idiot cannot see this.

In certain countries animals are hunted and the meat & byproducts are put to use. The animals hunted are generally carefully selected from older animals that are no longer breeding, and injured, weaker animals. The stronger, breeding animals keep a herd healthy, and good genetic material is passed on, and the herd can grow.

Additionally other animals benefit from mans help. For a simplistic example; If deer numbers build up, they’ll eat too much vegetation and will be left hungry. Other animals, such as rabbits that depend on the vegetation will also become hungry and Ill, and often leave an area in search of food, never to return. The deer and rabbits that don’t leave get weak, ill and die or spread illness. Weak deer and rabbits make easy prey for wolves. Easy prey means the wolf populations increase due to an abundance of food.

If too many wolves are allowed to build up, then they’ll eat all the remaining rabbits and deer. You’re left with starving, ill wolves and no deer or rabbits and a decimated environment.

By carefully controlling the number of deer, rabbits and wolves you can actually increase each population and keep it healthy. Yes, hunting can enlarge the population and have them stronger and healthier.

Google the Yellowstone Wolves and you’ll see what an impact animal management can have. A couple of wolves reintroduced new animals and vegetation to the park, and even changed the flow of a river. Whole new species of fish, birds and forest animals came back. Plants that had died out in the area cane back – even down to lichen, insects, bacteria… All from careful animal management.

To recap: I love animals, I hate people hunting them for no good reason, and do not see it as a sport. If a cull is needed, then do it efficiently and humanely, and above a lot of this, don’t be that arsehole who is against any type of hunting if you haven’t bothered to research and understand the good that animal management can do when done correctly.

Back to my something new.

I do like my meat, milk, leather shoes, eggs etc, but I’m not thrilled at how the animals are treated.

So I’m taking up hunting on controlled land.

Hear me out.

I’m a good shot. A very good shot. Over 12 years of top division competition target shooting. I know I can take an animal out cleanly. One minute it’ll be minding it’s happy own business in the huge open fields and woodland , and that’ll be the last thing it’ll ever know. HOW CRUEL!!!!

My shooting a rabbit does two main things though: It keeps the number of rabbits down and reduces the burrows in the farmer’s cow field, which in turn means less cows being shot due to serious injuries from getting caught out by deep holes. It also means food for me and my family, as the rabbit will not be wasted.

I’m sorry, but Mrs Feathers the factory chicken had 18 months of hell before being thrown in shredder just so you could have some poor quality egg in your shop brought salad. At least the bunny I shoot will have had a life of freedom, sunshine, good food and free of suffering. Who’s worse? The people buying factory meat from a store, or me?

When we move I plan to hunt larger game in an area that uses hunting to increase the entire animal population by proper husbandry. I plan to only shoot what is sustainable, better for the future population of that animal species and other affected species, and only what I need and can use. I wish to avoid buying factory farmed meat and produce where possible.



The difficulty for me is the killing. Yes, I know my shot will be true and clean, and I know it is better than buying from a store, but I’m face to face with my fluffy dinner; I’m not distanced from it like the anti-hunt people who buy their tortured slabs of meat in polystyrene trays, covered with clingfilm.

I’ll pull the trigger. I’ll take responsibility for that life. I’ll prepare and eat the meat and I’ll appreciate it all the more for knowing that I’ve not added to the supermarket demand for factory farmed animals.

So if you ask ‘how can you shoot a poor fluffy bunny?!?‘, I’ll ask ‘how can you buy inhumane factory farmed animal produce?

You buy from this, with unsold animals being thrown in to landfill – some still alive:

This is acceptable?

Once wrapped up and put on a supermarket shelf you’ll feel much better.

If you don't see it, it makes it okay. Yeah?

If you don’t see it, it makes it okay. Yeah?

But disagree with this – Free roaming rabbit – only shooting what you need:

Terrible. Fancy shooting a rabbit that's lived in freedom and happiness.

Terrible. Fancy cleanly shooting a rabbit that’s lived in freedom and happiness.

So inhumane! You'd rather eat factory farmed, mechanically reclaimed meat...?

So inhumane! You’d rather eat factory farmed, mechanically reclaimed meat…?

It is a catch 22 for me. I love animals and nature, and even though I’ve done my research & seen it for my own eyes, hunting for their greater good still doesn’t make it seem right;  Even though it’s clearly working in certain countries, and is a damned lot better than force fed, cramped, mistreated factory animal produce.

At the time of writing this I’ve still to shoot my first rabbit, but rest assured! I have a well skilled country friend who is taking me through the humane hunting and despatch skills required to go with my already precise rifle work. I’m not half arsing this – I owe my doing it right to the rabbit.



Death from above…or below?

I have been following the geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park with some interest. It is one of those problems that has experts talking – as although it is an old problem. It is one that is quite unique – and funnily enough, we have no modern data on globally catastrophic earthquakes and volcanoes.

Potentially it could wipe out life as we know it – but it could also just dribble. We sit on a World that is in constant danger from meteor showers, we are at the beck and call of global climate anomalies and every day is riddled with dangers that we just don’t know about (which is often good!).

There was an interesting fact on “QI” with Stephen Fry:-

What is most likely to kill you? Being struck by lightning, or being hit by a meteor?

Oddly enough the meteor was the answer, as when you work out the odds, being hit by lightning  is less likely to happen than a total global destroying meteor strike.

This is based on the fact that a catastrophic meteor collision would wipe out everyone,  where as a lightning strike may be a more frequent event – but it generally only hits a single person at a time. Total population wipe out by meteor is 1 in several million, where as one lightning strike hitting (not killing) someone is around 1 in half a million.

So you see, we live continuously, but obliviously in dangerous times, so why worry?

I digress again though, as the main purpose of this blog entry is to present this fascinating article by Richard Brill, who is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. I found the article in the “Star Bulletin” online, and have been given kind permission by Richard to publish it on my blog – so many thanks to Richard Brill.


Quake swarm at Yellowstone may signal blast

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 04, 2009

More than 250 small earthquakes occurred in Yellowstone Park between Dec. 26 and Monday.

Scientists wonder if last month’s swarm of tremors, the most numerous and intense in this area in many years, might be a harbinger of a larger event.

Yellowstone National Park sits atop a supervolcano. The entire park is the depression of a caldera more than twice the size of Oahu that is the result of an unimaginably large eruption some 600,000 years ago.

By comparison, the caldera left by the explosion of Mount Saint Helens in 1980 is about the size of downtown Honolulu.

Saint Helens ejected 1.4 billion cubic years of ash that was detectable over an area of 22,000 square miles.

The last Yellowstone eruption, which was not even the largest in Yellowstone’s history, ejected 2,500 times the ash of the Saint Helens explosion.

Should we be alarmed by this uptick in activity?

Scientists studying Yellowstone from the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Utah and National Park Service at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory say that recurrences of cataclysmic eruptions are not regular or predictable.

A supervolcano eruption at sometime in the future is inevitable with 100 percent probability. Eight supervolcano eruptions are known from the geologic record and there may be even more.

Although nothing, including the recent earthquake swarm, points conclusively to an imminent eruption, the researchers note that Yellowstone erupts about every 600,000 years.

Geologists continuously monitor the inflation and deflation of the Yellowstone Plateau, which indicates pressure changes in the magma chamber that lies as close as 5 miles below the surface in some places.

The elevation of the caldera is 35 inches higher than when measurement began in 1923, and it has been moving upward since mid-2004 at a rate of up to three inches a year – more than three times faster than has ever been measured previously.

An explosion matching the last Yellowstone eruption, which released 60 million times the energy of the Hiroshima bomb, would most certainly result in millions or even billions of deaths worldwide, both directly and indirectly.

One study predicts that half the U.S. could be covered in ash up to 3 feet deep. Earth could experience a “volcanic winter” with ash in the atmosphere keeping sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface for several years.

The largest supervolcano eruption within the last 25 million years occurred at Lake Toba in Sumatra 73,000 years ago. The energy released was at least 15 percent greater than Yellowstone and 20,000 times greater than the largest human-made nuclear explosion.

It plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter, and might have eradicated 60 percent of the human population, leaving as few as a thousand breeding pairs to propagate our species.

We cannot predict, prevent or prepare for such cataclysms, but we must be humbled by the knowledge that such events have been and will continue to be an important part of the history of our planet on geological time scales.

Without them we would most likely not be here at all, and they might someday render us extinct like the dinosaurs.

Richard Brill is a professor of science at Honolulu Community College. E-mail questions and comments to rickb@hcc.hawaii.edu.

More interesting articles can be found HERE – or just click on his photo.


One thing that never crossed my mind is the effect even a lesser eruption could have. I read somewhere that a smaller eruption could still send clouds of ash up into the local area, and as such it would fall and settle on reservoirs etc.

Local Nuclear power stations rely of this water to cool the reactors, and if it is that water is to badly contaminated, they will not be able to clean and filter it quick enough to supply the reactors. On top of this, there would not be time to shut down the reactors safely. As such there would be scattered nuclear disasters similar to Chernobyl.

This is all theory and off of the web mind you – but it does make you think about the potential knock on effects of a large eruption.

She’s late – and that could be trouble for all of us

The Yellowstone National Park Caldera (super volcano) goes boom every 600,000 years or so…. and she’s a few thousand years over due… For your information, here is a link to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory that has constant updates on activity in the area.

I’m not going to get technical – there is plenty of information available on the net – but I will try to give a simple blog entry on a very potent source for the end of life on Earth. The following is pretty accurate, although I haven’t re-read my old research, so I may have messed up a few parts, BUT the general gist of this blog entry is correct (I am open to corrections though).

Very basically: Yellowstone sits on a huge volcano (about 2o miles side to side). It wasn’t discovered for a while, simply because it was so big…. so much bigger than anything like it before.

So what is the big concern? Well, Archaeologists found thick layers of ash from thousands of years ago whilst on various dinosaur hunting digs around the world. The odd thing is, this layer was made up of the same ash, from the same place – and has been found in thick layers world wide.

It goes back about 600,000 years since the last explosion (and about 600,000 before that) – and it caused a volcanic winter. If I remember from my readings (books by proper scientists… not Wikipedia…), it is the possible cause of the lack of diversity in horses and humans. There are many types of birds, fish etc… but only one type of human, and very few horse variations. This is because the world wide darkening of the skies due to ash after the last eruption pretty much wiped out the species.

Is it any concern now though? Yes… more so in the last few days if you watch the news. The swarm earthquakes that surround the Yellowstone Caldera have picked up in intensity – a lot. Now this could just die down, or it could be the prologue to a bigger eruption. Maybe not a full blown eruption – maybe nothing – but also maybe the cease of existence as we know it – much as it was 60,000 years ago.

What would happen? Well, America would go pretty quickly, and then the volcanic ashen cloud would plunge the World into a volcanic winter – which is a bit colder than you’d want it to be… a deathly cold. The earth, in a worse case scenario, would not recover for many, many thousands of years. No life at all.

The knock on effects of a huge volcanic eruption could cause the already fractured  island of La Palma (in the Canaries) to collapse into the sea. The scientists believe that this would cause a huge tidal wave unlike any we have seen before. Let’s face it, dropping an island into the sea is going to cause a bit of a splash – but the Islands are a bit special. When they fracture, the huge land mass will slide, rather than fall.

Imagine making a flat hand, then pushing it down and forward into a bath of water. The result is a push of water and huge displacement causing a wave. La Palma will cause a wave that would reach all the way over to, and wipe out the East coast of America (and a few hundred miles in shore).

Regardless of the Yellowstone Volcano, La Palma is a worry anyway and already being monitored. The fracture is being recorded all the time, but even as it grows bigger there will be no defence against a wave that will hit multiple continents and that would make the Phuket Tsunami seem like a light April shower.

Should we worry? “Is there much point in worrying?” is the real question. These events are out of our hands any way and there is nothing we can do to stop or defend against them.

Food for thought on top of this is another thing I read (A Bill Bryson book about a brief history of time for the layman)…. It talked about the possible causes for the end of the World – including the Yellowstone volcano, the La Palma tidal wave and finally, a meteorite strike….

Surely a meteor strike is the least of our worries with the volcanic winter and giant floods? Apparently not! Earth has been likened to a blind man crossing a hundred lane motorway at rush hour over and over again. Earth is the blind man, the motorway is the meteorite storms we are currently missing at the moment….

We really are lucky to have evolved this far!!! You’ve been surfing on this huge globe, through deadly space rocks, fractured ground masses, and an environment on the brink of killing us all….and you never knew it – AND you have survived it – so why worry now!?

Here’s to tomorrow and life on this time bomb.

This could very much be a reason to embrace stupidity though.

I’m a little concerned as to the future as I have read the facts on these things – and verified them against other sources. In this case my knowledge makes me worried – so maybe blissful ignorance would be a better option – and if that is the case, I recommend that you don’t read what I have just written!!!

If this did interest you, then I recommend you take a look around and do some reading yourself.

A good start is this Bill Bryson book. Easy to read and take in – not too heavy going, but very informative.

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