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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Radioactive Boars — Moneymakers for German Hunters

Published 08/31/10
By Reed Parsell, content developer/editor

“Feel free to ask for extended stays if you would like to be more selective or plan on shooting extra animals.” That sentence, disturbing on several levels — from the breezy “feel free” to the pretentious “more selective” to the bacchanalian “shooting extra animals” — is part of a central European hunting tour service’s home Web page.

I stumbled across it after reading an Associated Press story that reports radioactive boars increasingly are turning up in Germany. And by “turning up,” of course, I mean feet up, as in shot. Out of the 640,000 boars “bagged” there last year, up to 4,000 were found to have becquerel levels exceeding 600 per kilogram — the limit for human consumption.

The story, by Verena Schmitt-Roschmann, links the boars’ radioactivity to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in nearby Ukraine. “Unlike other wild game,” she writes, “boars often feed on mushrooms and truffles that tend to store radioactivity, and they plow through the contaminated soil with their snouts, experts say.”

Schmitt-Roschmann also reports that hunters who can prove their “game” is radioactive are entitled to federal compensation thanks to something called the German Atomic Energy Law. Uncle Fritz, or whatever Sam’s German counterpart is called, will pay 100 euros for small radioactive boars and 200 euros for larger ones. Contrast that with the 90 euros an average-size boar will fetch for its meat and you can understand why Guenther Baumer, who tests slain boars for their radioactivity levels, said:

“The disappointment (when radioactivity is found in meat) is usually rather limited.”

In a nutshell, here’s what is happening with boars in Germany: A quarter-century after a manmade accident of monumental proportions, they continue to be contaminated by it. They’re slaughtered annually by the hundreds of thousands. Hunters receive handsome government compensation if a boar is found to be radioactive, and — here’s the kicker — hunters are in charge of determining radiation levels.

What with rising mercury levels in seafood, antiobiotics in cows, more than a half-billion eggs being recalled last month in a salmonella outbreak and WalMart recently recalling 380,000 pounds of possibly tainted deli meats, it’s not a good time to eat animals.

Feel free to be nauseated.

Bears are killed at a slower pace in the United States than are boars in Germany, but ethically it’s equally atrocious. Born Free USA can give you the facts on bear hunts, traps and canned-hunt legislation , among many other hunting-related issues.

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