Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

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Letters to the Editor and Others

Venison and E. coli

Sent to Merrick Life (NY)

12/2/03

Letter to the Editor:

bellmore editor@merricklife.com  

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 environment.

Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc.
Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561

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