Hunters want ability to donate game meat to N.L. food banks
Hunters Helping the Hungry program currently exists in Nova Scotia, other provinces
Hunters in Newfoundland and Labrador say they want to be able to donate meat to local food banks, but doing so may not come easy.
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Hunters Helping the Hungry is a program that has seen success in other parts of Canada, and allows hunters to give game meat to food banks and other charities.
In Nova Scotia, a government-sponsored program was started 10 years ago and has resulted in hundreds of kilograms of meat being donated each year.
With that program, the hunter takes their meat to a government-licensed meat inspector who processes the product before sending it to a food bank.
The Newfoundland Federation of Hunters and Anglers wants to see that program extended to Newfoundland and Labrador, something President Barry Fordham says could allow hunters to give back to the community while also reducing waste.
"We believe in giving a positive hunter image to the non-hunting public, which is the majority of the population," he said.
"People say 'Oh, at the end of the year hunters are throwing all the meat away' and everything else. Well there's some of that happening, but this program would see all that disappear altogether."
No change expected soon
Fordham says he's talked to Environment Minister Perry Trimper about bringing the program to Newfoundland and Labrador, but says legal restrictions about giving meat to a third party – as well as liability issues – means implementing such a system won't come easy.
Meanwhile, Eg Walters, general manager of the Community Food Sharing Association, said he would welcome meat donations with open arms.
"People who use the food banks are no different than you or I," he told CBC from a food bank warehouse on Monday.
"We like our meat, we like our chicken and our fish. We like our fresh fruit and fresh vegetables — so it's important that we try to make sure that we can vary the diet of people who use food banks."
With files from Laura Howells