When it comes to animals, this couple has practically perfected the art of compromise. One is a vegetarian, the other a meat-eating hunter. But they say that despite their differences, they’ve found a way to keep an open mind about each other’s preferences.
“I think whether it’s an ideology, a political view, or a debate like this one, I don’t think you have to fight it with the extremes,” he says.
She says she’s had a desire to protect animals since she was a child reading about the rainforest.
“If I ever saw hunters posing with these big-game animal trophies, it broke my heart,” she says. “How do you kill something so beautiful and sometimes endangered?”
He says a defining moment in their relationship was when he took her to a hunting lodge where she seemed visibly uncomfortable. She then spoke to the ranch manager who explained how he determined which animals could be hunted.
“He had studied them, he understood them, he knew how old they were, and there was just a thought that somebody on the other side could love animals as much as I did, but he was managing the population in a way that it could grow and it could thrive and still be a part of the ecosystem without destroying it,” she says.
He says he didn’t know much about conservation before he met her.
“The only conservationists I had seen were people in little boats in the North Atlantic trying to stop whalers from hunting whales, and I thought, Well okay – none of that’s going on here; nobody’s hurting whales here,” he says.
Although she says she could never be a hunter, and he says he’ll never be a vegetarian, they’re still able to understand each other’s perspectives.
“Having a difference of opinion actually helps you be more open to the other side of the argument – and not just arguing your side – and how the two can work together and grow your own understanding of the topic as a whole,” she says.
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Written by Savana Dunning.