Louisiana hunters are outraged after health officials forced them to destroy 1,600 pounds of donated venison — about $8,000 worth — that was meant for the state’s homeless shelters.
The Department of Health and Hospitals ordered the staff at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission to throw the deer meat into garbage bins and douse it with chlorine bleach so other animals would not eat it.
“Deer meat is not permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any other public eating establishment in Louisiana,” a health department official told Fox News in an email. “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.”
Hunters statewide are furious over the wasted manpower and carnage put into the effort.
“That’s a mild understatement,” Richard Campbell, one of the founders of Hunters for the Hungry, told Fox. “Hunters are going nuts over it. It’s created an outrage across our state and even over into Mississippi.”
The mission’s chef asked the officials if they could return the meat to the processing plant, but he was turned down.
“They actually took it out to the dumpsters, split the packages open and poured Clorox on it,” Henry Martin, executive director of the mission, told Fox.
He said the rescue mission serves 200,000 meals a year without any help from the state or federal governments. As many as 3,200 meals were lost that day.
“It seems like this was a senseless act,” Mr. Martin 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.”
State Rep. Jeff Thompson said he is meeting with state lawmakers to make sure the rules are changed.
“As a hunter and somebody who has personally donated deer to this program, I’m outraged and very concerned,” he told Fox. “You hear about these stories anywhere and it’s a concern — but when it happens in your own backyard, it’s insulting.”