Sports A Field

Book Review: The Mindful Carnivore

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A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance

Tovar Cerulli seems an unlikely hunter. Although he spent his childhood summers in New England fishing for trout and hunting for bullfrogs, he left such pursuits behind in his teens and, in an attempt to avoid killing and harming animals, became a vegan by the age of twenty. Some ten years later, in the face of declining health and increasing doubts about his meatless lifestyle, Cerulli came to the conclusion that a far more honest way to confront the truth about his impact on the natural world was to face it directly and take personal responsibility for the animals he realized he was killing anyway. He became a hunter.

The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance is a book about Cerulli’s personal quest to come to terms with his meat consumption and his struggles with questions of morality and differing worldviews, but it’s also a gripping account of a man slowly teaching himself how to hunt–the challenges, the questions, the frustrations, and the disappointments that came with entering the New England deer woods and learning the basics of hunting, season after season–and what happened when it eventually came together. Any hunter who has taken this difficult journey will feel a connection.

Along the way, Cerulli examines questions that should interest hunters and nonhunters alike: Is vegetarianism really harmless? How much impact do our food choices have on the world around us? Is the issue of food perhaps the best way to bridge the gap between hunters and nonhunters and start a serious dialogue that could return hunting and eating wild game to the respected lifestyle it once was?

A gripping look at some of the central questions, both practical and philosophical, of human existence, this book is bound to make you think, not just about hunting but about the way our lives and all of the food we consume are connected to the larger picture. Read this book while you’ve got a venison stew simmering, and when you’re finished, pass it along to someone who doesn’t hunt.

Available for $26.95 from Pegasus Books and Amazon.com.–Diana Rupp

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