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Captain’s Log: A Tale of Two Steaks

Many of us have bought farmed salmon and enjoyed a meal, then bought wild-caught salmon and been truly amazed at how much more delicious it is than the farmed stuff.

Fish farming is big business (I smile and wonder why they don’t call it “fish ranching,” but commercial fishing has been big business for much longer and brings in wild-caught fish to please our discerning tastes.

If you like wild-caught fish, go thank a commercial fisherman (which can be done at Santa Barbara’s Fisherman’s Market in the harbor on Saturday mornings).

There is an equally different taste between commercially-reared land animals and hunted critters. Wild game is managed for hunting sustainability just as fish are managed for sustainable fishing.

Americans especially are passionate about our rights to hunt and fish for our own family’s food.

Here is a tale of two steaks for you to consider.

Plate A: A critter is born and grows up in the wild, living its life in a natural habitat and eating what nature intended for it to eat. That critter grows up strong and is aware of its position in the wildlife food web.

A hunter comes along, the end comes quickly, and the hunter thanks for critter for feeding his or her family. The animal is cut up, a steak is cooked and put on a plate.

Plate B: An animal is raised in a filthy, crowded feed lot where there isn’t a bit of nature to interact with. It is fed purchased foodstuffs and all the chemicals allowed by law to ensure fast growth rates and reduce the high risk of disease from the unnatural environment.

After being led into the slaughterhouse it is bludgeoned in the head and sent off for processing. A steak is cut, cooked and put on a plate.

Take a thoughtful look at those two plates. Which steak do you really want to eat?

The spirit of the American hunter, searching for wild healthy and well-managed game for the family table is strong and good.

May it always be so! 

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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