Venison and E. coli
Sent to Merrick Life (NY)
Letter to the Editor:
A recent article in Bellmore Life reported on the Venison
Donation Coalition through which hunters – people who have nothing better to
do than to kill helpless and harmless animals – can donate deer carcasses to
feed hungry families. Unfortunately, their “generosity” may be the last
thing that hungry people need.
Hunters for the Hungry, a Virginia-based group that does
much the same thing, freely admits that deer meat may include growths,
abscesses, enlarged or discolored organs. The group warns against donating
meat that has been contaminated through “field dressing” – a hunter’s
euphemism for tearing out a deer’s internal organs and leaving the steaming
gut pile in the woods after the animal is killed. Through “field dressing,
it is possible that fecal matter may contaminate the deer meat and
contribute to spread of E. coli 0157:H7, an organism that can prove fatal to
those unfortunate enough to contract it.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
states that outbreaks of E. coli 0157:H7 are associated with fecal
contaminated venison. The Yale University School of Medicine, Department of
Epidemiology and Public Health released a paper entitled “Emerging
Infectious Diseases” (Vol. 8, No. 5, May 2002). In the paper, Terry
Rabatsky-Ehr, et. al concluded that a seven-year old boy contracted E. coli
O157:H7 from eating white tail deer meat.
By donating the byproduct of their bloodlust, hunters may
be causing more harm than good for needy families in the area. This is just
one more example of the negative impact hunters have on people and the
Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
New Paltz, NY 12561