As I see the bullet enter the deer’s heart, a lot of emotions are running through my mind. My heart is racing and I can feel my pulse in my temples. It’s the first land animal I have ever killed.
I go down the hill to go retrieve my kill, tears are running down my cheeks as I hear my friend’s deer screaming as he gives it a final kill shot about a hundred meters away. I keep repeating to myself that I eat meat so I have to be able to do this. My whole life I have be desensitized to where my meat is from and I only have been exposed to the “final product” – a piece of animal under plastic wrap. I put it on my back to carry it out and I can feel his warm belly pressing against my t-shirt – I told myself that at least he didn’t spent his life stuck in a cage in horrible conditions. Weirdly, the guilty feeling went away when I saw the pieces of meat being all cut up – this is what I’m used to seeing and eating. This is what meat is for most of us. But we tend to forget where it comes from and what it used to be. Or we choose to forget, as I did. We ate the deer the following day, with a mix of satisfaction, respect and gratefulness.
I never thought about where my food was coming from before I started the rather strange sport that is spearfishing. I always picked my fish according to what looked the freshest and the cheapest without even considering what happened between the moment where it was a living organism and the moment where he ended up laid out on a piece of Styrofoam at the supermarket.
Everything changed the day I put myself in the middle of the food chain.
I was introduced to spearfishing through friends in 2011 when I was still living in London, UK and I was far from being a natural to say the least. I remember my first day, sitting at the back of the boat, with hundreds of feet of water below me, miles away from the coast (I was Blue Water Hunting). My heart was racing – I was having a panic attack. Irrational fear? Not really as when I was 14, I got caught by an undertow and passed out in the water in the South of France when I was on holidays with my parents.
Despite the fear crippling me, I gathered all my courage and I jumped. I still remember to this day the beauty I saw at that moment. The sea, dark and agitated at the surface, was breathtaking underneath. I was overwhelmed by the peace and serenity I was experiencing – and the hundreds of little fish surrounding me.
That day, I shot my first fish.
Spearfishing and I would have a lot to accomplish before our relationship became an unconditional love story – I was still petrified of deep water – but that night, on the beach, cooking my fish, that I caught myself, changed my life forever and my vision on food sourcing. It is that moment that pushed me to continue.
I spent years working on my relationship with the ocean. 8 years later, my biggest fear became not only my passion, but my job.
A long love story that open my eyes to the damage we’ve done to our oceans and that made me realize that as humans, we aren’t on top of the ecosystem, but right in the middle.
When I hunted on land for the first time and that I was eaten alive by guilt, I immediately felt the hypocrisy in which I have lived in my whole life. I eat meat, how couldn’t I be able to harvest it myself? Especially that remorse went away when Bambi looked like steaks and that I ate him with appetite.
Our obliviousness is the biggest danger when it comes to the future of the planet.
It did break my heart in a million pieces to take the deer’s life, but until we face what is really going on behind the iron curtain of food sourcing on a larger scale, we have way dirtier blood on our hands.