Workers at a rescue mission in Louisiana were forced by state health officials to destroy roughly $8,000 worth of deer meat because state law prevents the serving of venison in homeless shelters, according Fox News.
“The Dept. of Health and Hospitals ordered the staff at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to throw 1,600 pounds of donated venison in garbage bins — and then ordered then to douse the meat with Clorox — so other animals would not eat the meat,” the Fox report notes.
Again, just so we’re all on the same page, that’s 1,600 pounds of venison.
“Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana,” a Health Dept. official said in an email to Fox News.
“While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at the Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public,” the statement adds.
Needless to say, the many hunters who donated the meat are furious with the state officials.
“Hunters are going nuts over it. It’s created an outrage across our state and even over into Mississippi,” Richard Campbell, co-founder of Hunters for the Hungry, a charitable group that donates wild game to shelters, told Fox.
The whole ordeal started after someone at the shelter complained about being fed deer meat (yeah).
Rev. Henry Martin, executive director of the mission, doesn’t get it. He says they’ve been serving deer meat for years.
“This was really good meat. It’s high in protein and low in cholesterol. It’s very healthy,” he said, adding that he was disturbed by how state officials handled the situation.
“You would think we would have due process,” he said. “But they meant to destroy the meat – that’s for sure.”
The mission’s chef said he asked if they could at least return the meat to the processing plant. State officials said no.
“They actually took it out to the dumpsters, split the packages open and poured Clorox on it,” Martin told Fox.
In the process of Cloroxing the venison, state officials destroyed roughly 3,200 meals. That’s roughly 3,200 meals the rescue mission – which doesn’t accept a dime in fed or state aid – will never get back.
“It seems like this was a senseless act,” he said. “I don’t think hungry people who come to our mission appreciate the fact they could have been eating some really good venison and as it is now – no one can eat it.”
When questioned by Fox, state officials said the Clorox baptism was necessary “so that animals would not eat it from the dumpster and become sick or die.”
“This is a process called ‘denaturing,’” they said.
Hunters who participate in the state’s deer management programs basically stuff their freezers with what they can and are asked to donate the rest to charity.
“We ask our hunters once they fill up their own freezers to give the extra to the needy,” said Martin.
A local processing plant prepares the meat once it has been donated by the state’s many hunters.
“As a hunter and somebody who has personally donated deer to this program, I’m outraged and very concerned,” State Rep. Jeff Thompson told Fox News. “You hear about these stories anywhere and it’s a concern – but when it happens in your own backyard it’s insulting.”
Rep. Thompson says he will meet with state officials to question them about the rules.
“We take pride in helping our neighbors and to see thousands of dollars worth of meat that would help the hungry go to waste is absolutely disturbing to me,” he said.
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Featured image Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission website.