By Danielle Sturgis | December 5 2008 09:36
For generations, hunters have been shooting deer with lead bullets and eating the venison with no ill effects. In fact, there is not one documented case of a citizen ever becoming ill because of eating venison taken with a rifle bullet.

Moreover, a recent CDC study, in which more than 700 North Dakota residents were tested for lead levels, found not one single individual with unacceptably high amounts of lead in the blood. (That study was requested by the North Dakota Department of Health, because of allegations made earlier this year that venison intended for food banks contained excessive levels of lead.)

Yet the "issue" of lead in venison continues to unnecessarily alarm people. Despite the conclusions of the CDC study, North Dakota’s Sportsman Against Hunger program decided to accept only archery-taken venison, and the North Dakota Department of Health issued recommendations not to use lead ammunition, and discouraged food pantries from accepting ground venison taken with lead bullets.

Now, we learn from a story in Minnesota's Star-Tribune that up to 25,000 pounds of venison, intended for food banks in the state, will have to be X-rayed before it is distributed. The decision came when random testing revealed that 5.3 percent of sampled deer meat contained "lead fragments."

One of the many spirited comments on the story said, "Good god. How much money is being spent on this nonsense?"

The answer is 30 cents a pound. But the unnecessary expense is not the only problem. The testing will delay the delivery of badly needed food to hungry families. It’s being collected from all over the state and moved to the Twin Cities for testing. Moreover, state officials are considering eliminating the venison donation program altogether. According to the article, "Officials plan to confer with legislators, hunters, processors, food shelves and other stakeholders in coming months to determine whether the donation program will continue."

Yet the same article quotes Nicole Neeser, manager of the meat inspection program of the state Department of Agriculture, as saying, "But we expect at least 95 percent of the product will be free of lead and will be able to go to food shelves."

In whose mind does any of this make sense?

For more of this story, go to NRAhuntersrights.org.

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