And with damn good reason. This continuing news-making issue of lead contamination in harvested venison is starting to make my home state look down-right silly. Seriously. My home state of Minnesota has intentionally juxtaposed itself to be at the forefront of this controversy and the nagging question that comes to my mind is…WHY?
Let me condense this down. As you may recall, last year Minnesota, as well as a few other states, pulled thousands of pounds of hunter-donated venison off the food shelves because of trace particles of lead being found in certain packages. So, last summer the DNR agencies from several states convened in Minnesota to discuss how they best deal with the situation this fall and into the future. I was there and blogged about that conference.
Among other things, a plan went forward in Minnesota to train all the meat processors on the new strict guidelines which basically boiled down to only accepting whole cuts of protein from deer that was not all shot up. In essence, the meat processors were given more discretionary control to reject hunter-donated meat intended for the food shelves if it was deemed to be unwholesome by the new lead standards.
Well, to certain news-hungry state agencies dealing with the problem, such as the Minnesota DNR and the Minnesota Departments’ of Health and Agriculture, that apparently was not the end to the story. Nope, this fall they began “fueling the fire” once again by choosing to x-ray all of the donated meat. That’s right…with the holiday season fast approaching and the desperate need for protein to reach certain low-income families, my home state has opted instead to undertake the tedious task of x-raying all firearm harvested meat before distribution.
Brings me back to my original question. WHY? Are they (Government officials) being overly cautious or is there a hidden agenda being promulgated here to eventually end the use of lead bullets for hunting? I’m starting to wonder about their intent much like many of my hunting cohorts. Lead used to harvest wild game has never been documented to cause death or debilitation, so what is all the sudden fuss about?
I’ve got a simple solution to the problem. If these agencies are going to get their underwear all bound up about this topic, then why not simply require that venison donated to these programs only be done with so-called non-toxic ammunition. Furthermore, because the ammunition costs three or four times as much money as traditional lead rounds, why not use some of that “available” money now spent on x-raying the meat and instead use it to subsidize the cost of the ammo used by the venison donors.
In other words, when a Minnesota hunter donates a deer shot by a copper solid (or equivalent) bullet, as a small thanks for the donation, the hunter could get a voucher or coupon worth $10 off their next purchase of another box of the outrageously expensive ammo these state agencies want us to use. Sounds rather simple, doesn’t it? That’s the reason why the government would never adopt a common sense approach such as this. It seems they would rather twist what should be a good deed (hunters donating food) into a relentless public lynching of a tradition still not proven to be a public health hazard.
2008 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.