March 21st, 2012
08:23 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Hunters, vegetarians clash over 'Hunger Games'

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Discussion about the franchise of "The Hunger Games," particularly its "bucking" of stereotypes, has led to passionate debating about killing for food on CNN's Eatocracy blog. People also talked about the movie, which comes out Friday, March 23, so if you've got an opinion, let us know what you think. You can also watch the cast of the movie answer iReporters' questions.

'The Hunger Games' bucks hunter stereotypes

Reaction to the story has pit hunters against vegetarians.

Vegetarian: "Nobody seems to really catch the point. It's the lack of compassion that's the bottom line. How can you enjoy an activity that is about killing? And the B.S. about it being clean and fast; 'so they don't suffer' is absurd. They always suffer. Just admit that you don't care, and in fact, may enjoy the power. Be honest.

Hunter: "The deer I shot this year was a clean kill through the heart. It ran on adrenaline for a few yards before it dropped. There were several other opportunities I had to shoot many other deer this year and chose not to because it would have been beyond my capability and would have likely caused suffering. But I chose not to. It is one of the tenants we learned in our hunter education course: Respect the animals . Did I mention that I donated the meat to Hunters for the Hungry–a 5013c charity that provides hundreds of thousands of pounds of meat to the poor in Virginia? You should read about how corporate farms treat their animals before you make generalizations on the entire hunting population of this country. Further, I bet you also don't know that hunting licensing fees fund state conservation efforts for all those beautiful state parks you enjoy."

Another person was disgusted by the whole idea of "The Hunger Games."

This book, this movie is garbage......: "All the storyline is about is just a play on marrying violence (killing human beings) with sex (female killers). It's a disgusting piece of work let loose at a time when the world needs LESS stories about violence. And this B.S. about hunting for food, please, there is no need unless you are flat broke and living in the woods ... and who is, those that can buy pricey firearms do NOT need to hunt for food. 99 percent of hunters only do so because of the thrill of the kill, no matter what B.S. line they spew out of their mouth."

This reader says they are morally opposed to hunting.

Maggy: "Hunting is wrong. It may take some people a few more million years to get, but civilized people don't hunt. We don't need meat. We have evolved. Some people have moved on, some are stuck because the TV and magazines tell them they have to eat meat, and in some well ... the caveman has not been bred out of them. Just because someone can out on a one-thousand dollar suit, does make them civilized. And of course some people are just mean and nasty and get a thrill out of killing. How much money did the hunting industry give to this movie? The truth is, hunting numbers are down to the point that the industry and the NRA has had to go after women and kids for the past ten years or so. Oh, and blind people. Yes, blind people can get a hunting license."

The discussion was quite spirited.

"God did not put animals on this earth for man to just look at and go 'Aw, is that cute,' " quipped a user John Doe I mean Buck. "Besides, hunting is a great pastime. Try it. Get into the spirit of the wild. You don't know what you are missing."

A woman talked about her love of hunting, and started a separate thread about thanking your food.

Mtngal: "I've fished my whole life (taught by my father and grandfather), and I am a woman. I get looks from men who can't cast as far, or from those who I outfish. And they are always shocked that I know what I am doing -– girls aren't supposed to do things like this. But I put food on the table. I don't like to kill the fish, but I do it. I say a prayer to them first, thank them for giving their life, and do it. I'm now teaching my husband to fish, and he has trouble with the killing part, so I do it for him most times. After a while you get used to it –- but taking any life is not a joy, and for the many that we take home, we make sure that we relase some, too."

WASP: "@mtngal: You Native American? Never heard of anyone else thanking the animal for giving its life to feed us. BTW, i'm lakota."

Punky: "I am an avid fisher and soon to be hunter. I am also an atheist. Whenever I kill a fish, I thank it. It's not so much a prayer as an acknoledgement of life. It is an important part of the experience. I too throw back a lot of fish. Too small, not worth killing. Too big, let them make babies. Most hunters and fishers I know are super-respectful of nature."

Jim: "I am not a Native American ... but I thank game after I've killed it. As a hunter, I feel it is our obligation to care for our environment. Take what you can use and leave it better than you found it."

But some said women should not hunt.

The Flamingo Kid: "There is nothing more unnatural than a woman - let alone a young woman - hunting down and killing animals. To be proud of the fact that you have no problem slaughtering innocent lives is nothing to be proud of. This is a sign of the times when even females go so against their natural tendencies as nurturers."

This reader said humans must evolve to a higher standard.

ZBro: "Eventually, Ralph Waldo Thoreau says, mankind will progress and stop killing animals just as cannibalism died out some time ago. Most people have not evolved to where they can see past themselves to learn to be compassionate for animals. Although we cannot live without accidentally killing (like stepping on insects or boiling water and killing tiny creatures), we should strive to minimize the suffering we cause. We can only be the change we want to see in others and choose to avoid actions such as killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, etc. I have many faults and I need to keep striving to be better than I was yesterday."

Is it killing for fun, or reverence for nature?

Liz the First: "How sad that anything should motivate young people to succumb to the sickness that is hunting. if you can afford to go to the supermarket and buy your food, you have no other reason to hunt than liking to kill, and that is a serious mental disorder. yes, it's good to be capable and prepared for any emergency, and if you found yourself needing to kill to survive, that would be acceptable. but just going out to have fun killing is sick!"

Libby: "What is wrong with hunting for food? As long as you treat the animal humanely and kill quickly and cleanly and don't hunt for sport, how is it any different from buying factory killed animals already dressed? If you hunt and dress it yourself, you're avoiding antibiotics, hormones and the filth that is in the factory. You are also avoiding genetically modified fed animals. Game animals are free range and organic, which is healthier and leaner."

Where do you stand on hunting? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport. We also posted another Overheard post today on the In America blog, detailing how parents talk to their children about race.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Animals • Food • Movies • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. The_Mick

    Like the Eskimos, I always pray to the spirit of the animal that I killed for forgiveness, saying I killed them to eat. Since vegetarian-only diets may not provide all the nutrients we need, the claim of the woman in the article that we don't eat meat because we're "evolved" isn't true. We've evolved since civilization: most of us with northern European genetics can digest cow's milk in adulthood. But we haven't replaced the need for meat.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dennis

    I am not a vegetarian and I don't hunt either. Vegetarians and vegans are a bunch of whiners. The don't want anything to do with meat, yet I have a vegan restaurant that sell dishes like "vegan beef on Weck, or vegan Philly cheese steak". If you are so against people eating meat why would they do something so stupid? This is America we have the right to do what we want, and you lame people need to stop worrying about what other do. If they want to hunt, they have that right. People need to find more constructive things to do than complain about stuff that has been happening since the beginning of time.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. David Shekhtman

    I'm fine with hunting, but anyone who does it using a high powered rifle is cheating. Use a bow you made yourself, or a spear made from a branch and a sharpened rock and really get into the spirit of it. Admit you do it for the challenge, and the thrill and then eat it afterwards. None of this donation business.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mark

    Hunters should be hunted.

    March 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Plants are living things, vegetarians are murderers as much as anyone.

      March 24, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lucifer

    Hope you enjoyed the movie (programming) your children will be living through it. LOL.

    March 24, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Steve

    I don't hunt, but simply because I have no desire, not due to any moral standard. However, I have a question that NO vegetarian has EVER answered for me, despite me asking everyone I meet. Plants breathe, reproduce, and consume nutrients. In one study, trees infected with a fungus caused trees 100 yards away with no connected root system to produce a chemical to combat the fungus, suggesting some form of "communication." How are plants not considered living things?

    March 24, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Shannon.

      @ STEVE yes plants are living but I think animals have more self awareness and feelings. Really I think most people believe this about animals that’s why we have pets, they have different personality from one to the other. Plants seem to act the same way no feeling no personality there. i dont say i dont eat liveing things i say i dont eat anything that has a face or can run away from its attacker. when an ear of corn shows me fear i will stop eating it... and get the hell off this planet.

      March 27, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      There's a difference between "living" and "sentient," or having a consciousness, if you're ever taken a science course. Of course plants are living. But they don't have a nervous system and we don't have evidence that they are self-aware or have emotions, while it is clear that animals do. Thus eating animals is clearly cruel, considering all the nutrients you need can be obtained from grains, nuts, legumes, and produce.

      March 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. veggiedude

    "Plants are living things, vegetarians are murderers as much as anyone."

    If that is the case, then all the more reason to be vegetarian, as we consume up to 20 times less vegetation than the average meat eater. The cost of cattle is a burden on the environment. We can't afford the grain, the water and the energy to produce it in a world of 7 billion which will certainly double near the end of the century.

    March 25, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Rev. Mike

    I promise not to try and shove a steak down your throat if you'll promise to try and stop treating me like a person with a IQ that's just above plant life because I eat steaks. Just because I eat meat doesn't mean I'm a sub-human just as not eating meat doesn't mean your superior human!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Shannon.

    i am a vegetarian have been most of my life. However that is my choice I see the logic and value in it, and I respect those who do not share my value set. I am not more evolved or better educated on the issue then other people. i made a personal choice based on what everyone pretty much knows and my own personality.

    More so on topic I live in the country and I know hunters, for the most part when they make a kill its more humane the slaughter house.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. joe

    i see alot of people on here the pros and cons of hunting. people saying you can buy food you don't have to hunt for it, where i live ( in the north central united stats) hunting is not just for food but for servival you have to have money to buy food alot of people around here don't have money and refuse to get handouts from the goverment i.e. food stamps there for hunting is a way of life and servival. i grew up hunting and fishing. the one thing my father tought me is take what you will use or need. For the "trophy hunters" out there you can't eat the horns.

    March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Alex

    How do you think these animals we hunt will end up dying in the wild? Usually they get injured and starve... sometimes they get creamed by a car... they don't die peacefully in their beds, surrounded by loved ones. I'm a lefty, love nature, and because I'm not an idiot I see that hunters do more to preserve the wilderness–by paying license fees and simply advocating for wild land preservation–than any of you on here calling them names. Ignorance, bias, and a false sense of superiority are no more flattering on a liberal than on a conservative.

    March 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Brushdog

    I live in a remote area where I can literally watch animals being attacked and eaten by other animals almost every day. Ever see an eagle catch a ground squirrel? The eagle perches on a post with his catch, then rips its guts out and eats them while the squirrel writhes in agony, still alive. A coyote feasts on a fawn while it is still breathing and shaking with fear. If I were an animal I'd rather be shot by a hunter any day.

    March 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. oggybleacher

    Ralph Waldo Thoreau???

    Is that the adopted son of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau?

    Does Taco Bell count as meat?

    April 16, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Rabelais Todais

    That there is a debate here shows how urbanized, how disconnected people are from nature. Ironically, it's the vegans and the tree-huggers who are most ignorant of nature. I was taught to hunt by a man who, in his childhood and youth had been a subsistence hunter. He was part Cherokee, lived up in the mountains, and was beyond poor. That person was my mom's dad. He and I also foraged for wild edible plants and berries. This world is HARD. Spoiled Americans are utterly and totally out of touch and unimaginably weak.

    July 9, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
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