Nunavut hunters want meat tested locally for trichinosis
Sending meat by air to Kuujjuaq takes too long, say hunters
Hunters in Nunavut are asking for walrus meat to be tested for trichinosis within the territory, instead of sending meat samples to Kuujjuaq, Que.
Trichinosis is an illness caused by a parasite that can lead to severe illness in humans and may even result in death. Cooking meat thoroughly kills the parasite but Inuit traditionally consume the meat fresh and raw.
At the moment, the Nunavik Research Centre in Kuujjuaq provides sampling kits to hunters in both Nunavik and Nunavut.
"Afterwards they send it to us, we pay for the shipment to Kuujjuaq, and once it arrives in Kuujjuaq we have 24 hours to give the results," says Manon Simard with the Nunavik Research Centre.
But it can sometimes take days to get the samples to Kuujjuaq depending on flights and the weather. For hunters in Nunavut that can be a problem.
Pauloosie Qiyutaq from Qikiqtarjuaq says it would save time and money to have testing stations in Nunavut.
"It just takes too long having the testing all the way over in Kuujjuaq. In reality we need one here to test all our meat we harvest."
James Eetoolook, vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik, agrees made more sense to test meat in the territory.
"There was a resolution to NTI to look into seeing what we can do about setting up the same or a similar system, to come up with facilities like that so that Inuit don't have to be scared of eating meat all the time," says Eetoolook. "This can save lives as well."
The Nunavik Research Centre says it can work with Nunavut and help train people to test for trichinosis and other parasites.