One half of the people found in a Nubian cemetery dating to as early as 12,000 years ago had died of violence. The Yellowknives tribe in Canada was effectively obliterated by massacres committed by Dogrib Indians, and disappeared from history shortly thereafter [Note: Not really. The Yellowknives, while suffering massive losses, did not actually "disappear" from history; a small number of survivors continue to live on in Canada]. Similar massacres occurred among the Eskimos, the Crow Indians, and countless others [Note: Yellowknives, Dogrib, Eskimo/Inuits and Crow were all pre-contact hunter-gatherers]. These mass killings occurred well before any contact with the West. In Arnhem Land in northern Australia, a study of warfare among the Australian Aboriginal Murngin people in the late-19th century found that over a 20-year period no less than 200 out of 800 men, or 25% of all adult males, had been killed in inter-tribal warfare [Note: All of Australia's indigenous peoples were hunter-gatherers prior to European contact].Then there is the intra-group violence of many, many forager cultures, such as virtually all of the Aborigines of Australia (PDF):
The particularly high level of violence against women was a feature of pre-contact Aboriginal Australia. First contact explorers and colonists noted with distress the terrible scars and bruises that marked the women due to the frequent brutality of their menfolk. Sutton and Kimm point to Stephen Webb's palaeopathology studies which verify that violence against Aboriginal women was prevalent for thousands of years right across the mainland continent. Webb analysed 'trauma using 6,241 adult post-cranial bone samples and 1,409 cranial samples from prehistoric remains derived from all major regions of Australia except Tasmania'. He found that female cranial injuries, of a kind indicating 'deliberate aggression', were more frequent than male cranial injuries.Such violence is attested in forager groups' own myths and stories. They are not ashamed of it but rather derive a significant part of their identity from it. Violence is always interpreted through the lens of culture. Often, harming those from an outside group is tolerated or even encouraged, whereas violence against one's own is sometimes frowned upon, but sometimes also tolerated. Receiving violence is usually inversely weighted: violence that comes from outside one's group is a greater concern than violence from within the group. We don't need to force the ideal of non-violence onto forager identity. Nature does not judge violence and seems satisfied to let many interactions within her realm be defined by intense brutality. Certainly few non-domesticated life forms are strangers to violence. If we want to live with nature--that is, if we want to survive for the long term on this planet--then we should relearn to accept violence and cultivate the maturity that all forager groups exhibit when confronted with struggle, death, abuse, and disease, rather than imposing artificial ideals like justice, equality, non-violence, etc., that, frankly, arise chiefly from the civilized mindset as foils to wildness. Only when we learn to be satisfied with the Dao of nature and stop judging its finely tuned systems of violence and death will the urge to create a "better" world using technical means be curbed and our planet be spared.
II. There is no way to live on this planet without participating in violence. Violence is a big part of the Dao of nature. Life sustains life, but death also sustains life. It is true that most life forms show an aversion to death, but this by no means indicates that death is somehow wrong. Life's calibrations reference a bigger picture. Take human reproduction as an example. Say fifty million sperm cells vie for a single egg all at once. All fifty million desire to reach that egg, but typically there are at least 49,999,999 that simply die without ever accomplishing their goal. If each sperm were not completely driven to fertilize an egg, or if there were fewer sperm and therefore less "competition", the egg may not get fertilized. If every sperm could fulfill its desire and fertilize its own egg, the world would be comically overpopulated (even more so than it is today). The way the Dao has prescribed it, it is necessary for the majority of sperm to die in ignominy in order for life to continue the way it is supposed to. Not everyone gets what he or she wants, and that's the way we should want it to be. Likewise, most "higher order" life forms like mammals and birds have above a 50% die off rate before offspring reach reproductive age. This includes non-domesticated humans, which is why hunter-gatherer life expectancy calculations used to be so low. Nature counts on that percentage in its designs. To nature, 50% is by no means high. Since our lives depend on unencumbered wilderness, we need to learn to embrace facts like higher infant mortality. Anything else is just fighting against nature, and that would undermine any anti-tech critique, as the only thing that lies outside of nature would be the artifice achievable only via technical means.
III. Those who choose not to eat animals believing that they are reducing suffering delude themselves, though their intentions may well be noble. While it may be possible to survive strictly off of gathered wild plant and fungal foods (though I highly doubt it), one would surely be, at the least, severely malnourished, as nutrients such as protein, fat, and several vitamins are not easily obtained outside of animal sources. Plants in general tend to be very poor in protein, with the exception of legumes and some grains, which, of course, cannot be gathered in adequate quantities in the wild and therefore presuppose agriculture. I'm sure it's not necessary here to go over how agriculture harms the planet, let alone the animals that vegans and vegetarians claim to be sparing. I can't say the same kind of harm would arise from natural predation relationships, including humans hunting animals, and a strong case can be made that ecosystems actually depend on animals killing other animals. To judge predation negatively as violence is rather absurd. Of all the possible ways of obtaining food on this planet, hunting and gathering leave the most nature intact, even when that hunting results in extensive species extinctions. In the worst case scenario, hunters who have hunted all possible game into extinction will themselves soon perish or else learn to be less profligate in their harvesting, allowing for a quicker rehabilitation of the ecosystem as much more nature will have been left intact compared to what a failed agricultural society leaves in its wake. Low tech hunting and gathering are still the lightest way to tread on this planet, and one of the many reasons why civilization is inherently problematic is because it can by no means accommodate this lifestyle. Take civilization as a given and we are left with only bad choices: large-scale suffering of conventionally-raised food animals, impractical and often unaffordable "ethically raised" animals, vegetarian and vegan diets that must make up for nutritional deficiencies by relying on ecologically-destabilizing agriculture, and genetically-modified crops and animals.