• Fri. Oct 22nd, 2021

Lav: tons of bushmeat on our plates unchecked


May 13, 2021

The State-Regions Conference approved, on 25 March last, the new guidelines on the hygiene of wild game meat, that is to say that coming from hunting and slaughter plans. But for Lav the document, which should regulate the production and control of game meat, presents alarming aspects for hygiene and public health, and for this reason the association has sent a letter to the health ministers Roberto Speranza and Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani to denounce the situation. Because there is the possibility, Lav emphasizes, that tons of game will be placed on the market and end up on the plate of citizens, without going through the normal system of sanitation checks provided for meat from farmed animals. In particular, the guidelines make it possible to allocate animals killed by hunters, in the context of hunting or wildlife control, to self-consumption or directly to the final consumer, or to commercial establishments, such as restaurants. This is accompanied by the faculty for the Regions to implement monitoring actions for wild animals considered carriers of zoonoses transmissible to humans, such as trichinellosis, echinoccocosis, toxoplasmosis, brucellosis, tuberculosis etc. “Translated into extremely practical terms – explains Massimo Vitturi, head of Lav Animali Selvatici – this means that every year millions of animals hunted, gutted and manipulated on the scene of the killing or in private contexts, with the risk of spreading pathogens, as in real our own wet markets in our house, end up on the tables of citizens or restaurants, or in commercial establishments such as butchers and supermarkets, without real guarantees for the consumer “. As for personal consumption, notes Lav, the guidelines do not provide for controls punctual health care on animals killed and consumed directly by hunters and their acquaintances and family members, with the exception of a generic “incentive” of the Trichinella research. Considering that in Italy there are about 500,000 hunters, and also calculating the people in close contact with them, this means that at least a couple of million people are at risk of contracting a zoonotic disease, they become I in turn give exponential diffusers of the pathogen. With the direct supply of small quantities, the risk described above is further increased, in fact the individual hunter is allowed to supply “small quantities” of game directly to the final consumer or to commercial establishments. Only in the latter case, i.e. commercial establishments including restaurants, can the Regions request post-mortem inspection and in any case this would only take place after the hunter has autonomously provided for the evisceration and management of the animal’s carcass, activities that in themselves involve risks of spreading diseases. But what is meant by ‘small quantities’? Reading the table provided by the guidelines to identify the number of animals that each hunter can yield during the year, “we discover that this quantity assumes extremely worrying values ​​if parameterized to the hunting population – Lav says – Assuming a very conservative estimate equal to 200,000 hunters who supply small quantities of game meat directly to third parties, we have 400,000 adult deer, equal to 28,000 tons of meat, or 800,000 wild boars, equal to 32,000 tons of meat, or 1,600,000 roe deer, equal to 19,000 tons of meat, or 5,000,000 hares, equal to 14,000 tons of meat, or finally 40,000,000 ducks, equal to 14,000 tons of meat, could be sold or placed in commercial establishments without any health guarantee “. Finally, the guidelines state that “the head of large wild game, once killed, must be deprived of the stomach and intestines as quickly as possible and, if necessary, bled to death”, implying that it is the hunter himself who does this, often on the spot of the killing, and without any prior health checks. For Lav, therefore, the guidelines are “seriously lacking in health safety. For this reason, Lav wrote to the ministers of Health and Ecological Transition, asking for their rapid intervention:” it is necessary and urgent to review the guidelines, inserting the obligation to carry out adequate health investigations by specialized personnel, on the bodies of killed animals, before they come into contact with any person, starting with the hunters themselves “, asks Lav.