Okay, yes, that Mongolian is an eagle hunter. But he’s not eating the eagle; he’s using it to hunt. Deer hunters hunt and eat deer, but eagle hunters use the eagle prowess in a self-serving manner and consequently keep the eagle alive. They train the eagles to catch small animals such as foxes and hares, whose furry coats eagles can easily spot in the snow. Then the trainer eats them. You see? It’s all about the hierarchy of which animals we like. Is it okay to kill tuna to eat sandwiches? Absolutely. Is it okay if we accidentally kill a dolphin while we’re in the middle of murdering tuna? No way, Jose. It’s about which animals matter.
Obviously, in America, eagles are emblematic of our country. We do not train them, and instead use hawks in falconry. We do not touch them, or their nests, or their eggs, as this is prohibited in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Though the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list in 2007, we continue to protect them as the symbol of our country. And we are certainly not alone in loving eagles. Mexico has a golden eagle on its flag, with a serpent in its talons, mid-murder. If that’s not badass, I don’t know what is.
And lest you think the mere association with eagles is not powerful, remember that The Eagles hold both the #1 and #3 spots of best-selling albums of all time (per http://www.mentalfloss.com). And that’s why we don’t stab eagles with steely knives.