Why does Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin (who is delightfully disasterous for the McCain ticket), think you should vote for his wife and the “Maverick” this November? Because, as he says in a recent interview, “It is important to have a ticket that supports our core values – hunting and fishing.”

You know, there are plenty of things more important in this election than letting people shoot wolves from helicopters. Things like the crashing economy, the failing wars, and the practically irreversable man-made global warming.

However, Todd’s remark isn’t all that surprising to me. I’m sort of the black-sheep of the family. Not in a criminal way of course, but my liberal, vegan, Buddhist ways are a long way from the views of the rest of my family. My father is an avid hunter, especially when it comes to deer. He even went to the extent of having a head of a deer he killed mounted and put on our wall, and named it Billy Buck. He’s a lifetime member of the NRA, and votes with gun and hunting policies at the front of his mind. We’ve argued about the McCain/Palin ticket numerous times. He adores this dangerously naive candidate, and admires the fact that she, like him, is a hunter.

In many circles, hunting is seen as the ultimate way to provide for your family and show off a man’s masculinity. Fathers take their children on their first hunting trips, which is often traumatizing for a young child who isn’t too fond of “killing Bambi.” In some cultures, a hunting trip is a rite of passage. Every hunter I’ve ever met uses the same line of reasoning: “It’s tradition.”

Tradition isn’t always a good thing. Tradition says that women are inferior and slavery is okay. Some traditions are out-dated and just need to die. Hunting is one of them. It isn’t safe, it is not necessary to keep animal populations down and safe (there are totally other methods, such as birth control), and it’s cruel.

Granted, if someone is absolutely going to eat meat no matter what, I would much rather they hunt than buy factory-farmed produced meat. Some animal rights activists and vegans might be upset that I’m sort of endorsing hunting, but the lives of the wild animals are free and they have the ability to act and behave as their instincts requires. Animals raised in factory farms are basically tortured – they can’t move around in their cages, are fed growth-hormones that make them grow at abnormal rates, and can’t do any of the things that make them happy, like running around in the grass and socializing with their peers. In this case, hunting is the more humane choice. Still, I would love to see a world where hunting is not necessary to provide food, and families are as passionate about gardening as some people are about hunting.