Is hunting at risk if venison becomes unsafe?

spectr17

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Hunting: Is sport at risk?

Deer disease may change attitudes

By Anita Weier, Capital Times (Madison)

April 18, 2002

Sociologist Thomas Heberlein worries about the future of public support for deer hunting if the eating of venison becomes unsafe.

"If you ask people how they feel about hunting for recreation and food, about two-thirds support hunting. If we take meat out and say (for) recreation and sport, that support drops to 45 percent, and only 30 percent support hunting for heads and antlers," he said in an interview.

The UW-Madison emeritus professor's national survey of more than 600 people in 1995 matched the results of other U.S. and Swedish surveys on attitudes toward hunting.

"The public supports hunting if it is utilitarian," he said. "You've seen the debate about dove hunting: People argue they are too little to eat. When people tried to get a crow season, the way it was finally done was to go to the Natural Resources Board with recipes."

Now, with fears focused on chronic wasting disease in deer, Heberlein wishes people would consider the relative risks of eating venison versus other foods before rushing to rule out venison.

"If you eat hamburger, is that safer? If you eat chicken grown in boxes that never see the light of day and are fed tons of antibiotics, is that safer?" he asked.

"I hunt. I had venison for dinner last night. I am certainly not going to ignore food that is very healthy, low in cholesterol and not fed with antibiotics. I am not about to give that up because of a low probability of risk."

Heberlein, a Portage native who lives in Lodi, appreciates that many hunters as well as non-hunters are very worried about the appearance of the fatal disease in white-tailed deer in Dane and Iowa counties.

"My 86-year-old mother, who sometimes does not know who I am, has been advising me that deer are not safe," Heberlein said.

"The press either greatly overplays or ignores low-probability risks. In the last few months, if people read these articles they would think they are almost surely to get infected.

"In fact, the linkages between diseased cows and human death complex are largely unknown, compared to eating mercury in fish or ingesting PCBs in fish. We have been managing a poisoned fishery for over 20 years and there has been relatively little decline in the number of anglers."

There are greater risks in hunting deer than eating the meat, he maintained. They include being shot, falling off deer stands, and being involved in a car accident on ice-covered roads when drivers may have been drinking.

Heberlein, who used to teach at the University of Colorado, noted that hunting has actually increased in that state despite the presence of chronic wasting disease in about 7 percent of the state for two decades.

Colorado has handled the matter by selling licenses for areas instead of the whole state. "It turns out the number of resident hunters has gone up," he said.

Heberlein noted that in areas where the disease is endemic, the state provides free lab tests of deer heads. In other areas, hunters can send heads to a lab for tests at a relatively low cost of $18 to $25. People can butcher the animals, store the meat and send the head in.

On a slightly lighter note, Heberlein sees deer disease causing possible family disruption for households where the husband is the hunter.

"In family units, the male has been getting the benefits of hunting. The family has been getting the cost. The husband is not around to do chores, they do not have a family vacation," Heberlein said. "Now we have an excuse for the wife who has been preparing the food to say, 'I am not eating this anymore, and you are not going hunting.' "
 



spectr17

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Hunting: Is sport at risk?

Deer disease may change attitudes

By Anita Weier, Capital Times (Madison)

April 18, 2002

Sociologist Thomas Heberlein worries about the future of public support for deer hunting if the eating of venison becomes unsafe.

"If you ask people how they feel about hunting for recreation and food, about two-thirds support hunting. If we take meat out and say (for) recreation and sport, that support drops to 45 percent, and only 30 percent support hunting for heads and antlers," he said in an interview.

The UW-Madison emeritus professor's national survey of more than 600 people in 1995 matched the results of other U.S. and Swedish surveys on attitudes toward hunting.

"The public supports hunting if it is utilitarian," he said. "You've seen the debate about dove hunting: People argue they are too little to eat. When people tried to get a crow season, the way it was finally done was to go to the Natural Resources Board with recipes."

Now, with fears focused on chronic wasting disease in deer, Heberlein wishes people would consider the relative risks of eating venison versus other foods before rushing to rule out venison.

"If you eat hamburger, is that safer? If you eat chicken grown in boxes that never see the light of day and are fed tons of antibiotics, is that safer?" he asked.

"I hunt. I had venison for dinner last night. I am certainly not going to ignore food that is very healthy, low in cholesterol and not fed with antibiotics. I am not about to give that up because of a low probability of risk."

Heberlein, a Portage native who lives in Lodi, appreciates that many hunters as well as non-hunters are very worried about the appearance of the fatal disease in white-tailed deer in Dane and Iowa counties.

"My 86-year-old mother, who sometimes does not know who I am, has been advising me that deer are not safe," Heberlein said.

"The press either greatly overplays or ignores low-probability risks. In the last few months, if people read these articles they would think they are almost surely to get infected.

"In fact, the linkages between diseased cows and human death complex are largely unknown, compared to eating mercury in fish or ingesting PCBs in fish. We have been managing a poisoned fishery for over 20 years and there has been relatively little decline in the number of anglers."

There are greater risks in hunting deer than eating the meat, he maintained. They include being shot, falling off deer stands, and being involved in a car accident on ice-covered roads when drivers may have been drinking.

Heberlein, who used to teach at the University of Colorado, noted that hunting has actually increased in that state despite the presence of chronic wasting disease in about 7 percent of the state for two decades.

Colorado has handled the matter by selling licenses for areas instead of the whole state. "It turns out the number of resident hunters has gone up," he said.

Heberlein noted that in areas where the disease is endemic, the state provides free lab tests of deer heads. In other areas, hunters can send heads to a lab for tests at a relatively low cost of $18 to $25. People can butcher the animals, store the meat and send the head in.

On a slightly lighter note, Heberlein sees deer disease causing possible family disruption for households where the husband is the hunter.

"In family units, the male has been getting the benefits of hunting. The family has been getting the cost. The husband is not around to do chores, they do not have a family vacation," Heberlein said. "Now we have an excuse for the wife who has been preparing the food to say, 'I am not eating this anymore, and you are not going hunting.' "
 

Eric Mayer

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<font face=arial size=1><blockquote><hr noshade size=1>
"In family units, the male has been getting the benefits of hunting. The family has been getting the cost. The husband is not around to do chores, they do not have a family vacation," Heberlein said. "Now we have an excuse for the wife who has been preparing the food to say, 'I am not eating this anymore, and you are not going hunting.' "
<hr noshade size=1></blockquote></font>

That deserves a big WTF!?

Eric A. Mayer
 

Gr8Unknown

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FDA: Deer Disease Should Be Killed
By PHILIP BRASHER

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration's top official called Monday for eliminating an illness spreading through deer and elk populations that's similar to mad cow disease.

Chronic wasting disease is one of a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Unlike mad cow, which can be a transmitted to humans, chronic wasting disease is not consider a threat to human health.

The disease is not known to spread to cattle, but scientists say that can't be ruled out. So far, cattle are only believed to have contracted the disease when injected with the infectious agent in a laboratory.

``We probably should try to eradicate it. There's no reason you couldn't stop it,'' said Deputy FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford. ``It's not something you want in the livestock herds.''

Crawford, a veterinarian, is running FDA until a new commissioner is appointed.

Mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, is linked to a human illness called new variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, the first U.S. case of which was reported last week. The victim, who lives in Florida, is believed to have contracted it in Great Britain. Mad cow disease has never been found in the United States.

Chronic wasting disease was believed until a few years ago to be largely confined to wild deer and elk in a small area of Colorado. But it has now been discovered in wild deer and captive elk herds in Wisconsin, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana and Saskatchewan.

FDA is working with the Agriculture Department to determine how extensively chronic wasting disease has spread, and is considering new regulations, Crawford said.

``There's every reason to be concerned that we control it and confine it now that we have the opportunity,'' said Crawford.

Experts believe the disease spread from Colorado, where it was first identified in 1967, through the shipping of captive elk to farms and ranches in other states and Canada. Wildlife then contracted the disease from the farm-raised elk.

The federal government, which leaves the regulation of wildlife to the states, needs to work with state governments to restrict the shipping of deer and elk, said William Hueston, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. There are ``a patchwork of regulations across the nation,'' he said.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission held an emergnecy session last month to bar the importation of white-tailed deer because of the threat of chronic wasting disease.

The Agriculture Department agreed last year to reimburse elk ranchers for animals that were destroyed because they were either infected or exposed to the disease. So far, USDA expects to reimburse ranchers in Colorado for about 1,000 elk.

Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman discussed the disease Monday with Wisconsin state officials during a visit to the state Monday.

``We're working with the states to find the best ways of dealing with it. Obviously, we would be working with our federal counterparts on it, too,'' said Veneman spokesman Kevin Herglotz.

There is no known cure or treatment for chronic wasting disease, and the only way to determine for certain that an animal is infected is to kill it and examine its brain
 

thetarheelkid

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If I read tha WTF! right I would add a O (over)!

(Edited by thetarheelkid at 9:45 pm on April 24, 2002)
 

killinturks

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i live in wisconsin about 90 miles away from where they found the diseased deer last fall. they just shot several hundred more for testing in that area and found several more diseased animals.everyones pretty worried about it.the dnr wants us to shoot more does all the time but if they dont stop this who is gonna bother. it will be guys just looking for horns and tossing the rest.dane county where this diease was  found is one of the best trophy counties in the state (shotgun only) but if this is not stopped that will probably dry up too. and whats to say if you take your meat in for sausage it wont get mixed up with some diseased meat that was not noticed.(many meat plants here do several thousand deer a year) its a sad deal for one of the top deer hunting states.
 

jayber

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They're talking about a gun season starting as early as May 8th for the two counties involved.  Tags will be given out to land owners and they'll have the option to either keep the meat or give it to the DNR for testing.  Needless-to-say, they want to drastically reduce the herd in the infected area.  I heard something like 1 per 10 square miles, but can't confirm.
 

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