Change Legislation To Allow "Hunters Helping The Hungry" in Newfoundland & Labrador

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As we have seen during Snowmageddon and the Covid-19 crisis, food insecurity is a huge problem in Newfoundland and Labrador. Demand for hampers at food banks in our province is growing annually. 

In our province, 13.4% of households are food insecure, meaning they have inadequate access to food due to financial restraints. 26,000 of us use food banks with 2 out of 5 of those being children. The demand for food often outweighs the supply. 

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

One way we can combat this is to allow hunters to donate to food banks directly to allow those food banks to share the harvest with their clients . Presently, there is outdated legislation in the Wildlife Act which prevents this from happening. Government has suggested convoluted workarounds which further stigmatize food bank clients and have privacy concerns. Healthy food should be able to be gifted to the needy without question and without conditions.

The solution is to implement a Hunters Helping The Hungry program in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The idea is simple - a hunter would take a moose to be butchered at a Government certified butcher to ensure the meat has been handled properly to safeguard food safety. The meat would then be donated to local food banks. 

Barry Fordham has been championing this cause for years.  Barry is the head of the Newfoundland Outdoor Heritage Coalition (NOHC). NOHC Inc. has over 3000 members and continues to grow. The mandate of the NOHC is to discuss issues regarding resource use in the Province, with particular emphasis on our wild resources of game and fish. NOHC will address significant issues with the appropriate Government agencies with the purpose of effecting change on behalf of outdoor enthusiasts.

Hunting has always been a traditional means of improving local food security in this province. Hunters routinely share their harvest with family, friends, neighbours and community members. But giving to local food banks remains illegal.

This program is already up and running and is quite successful in other provinces and in the United States and has distributed hundreds of thousands of pounds of nutritious game meat annually to those in need. Some of these programs are:

  • Hunters Who Care in Alberta
  • Hunters Helping the Hungry in Nova Scotia
  • Generous Hunters in Quebec
  • Hunters With Heart in Saskatchewan 

There are also no liability issues, thanks to the Donation of Food Act of 1997 - No one has ever been sued in Canada for donating food. This Act protects people who donate food in good faith. 

A HEALTHY SOURCE OF PROTEIN

Every year there are thousands of pounds of nutritious meat that can’t be donated to food banks. Moose meat is indisputably one of the most sought-after and nourishing foods on earth. Moose meat has more protein, less fat and cholesterol, and more minerals per serving than beef.

SUPPORT

Government has suggested that this program is not wanted here.  Mr. Fordham has done the research and spoken to food banks, the Community Food Sharing Association, Saint Vincent de Paul, Salvation Army and Single Parents Association of Newfoundland, to name a few. The support for this is overwhelming. The NOHC would assist with procuring appliances, where necessary, by reaching out to corporate sponsors and community businesses.  

Newfoundland Sportsman Magazine, NL Outfitters Association, Nova Scotia  Federation of Anglers & Hunters and New Brunswick Wildlife Federation are also in support of the program.

WHAT WE ARE ASKING

We are asking for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to simply amend the appropriate legislation.  All costs would be taken on by NOHC through donations.

A simple exemption should be added to the following sections, 11(3) and 11(4) of the Wild Life Act:

NOHC proposes that a section (5) could be added to this legislation to state that

“In the case whereby a hunter wishes to donate moose or caribou meat to a food bank, he/she may do so, provided the meat was cut by a certified butcher and the animal was harvested that same year.”

After this is implemented, NOHC will launch this action plan:

  1. The NOHC would seek corporate sponsors to help support the program in NL.
  2. The NOHC would compile a list of Provincially recognized butchers, and meat from these butchers would be deemed as suitable for donation.
  3. The NOHC will conduct a media blitz across several platforms to announce the program and solicit donations.
  4. The NOHC would monitor donations of moose meat to assess the success of the program.
  5. The NOHC would re-evaluate the program annually to seek refinements with respect to (1) encouraging participation, (2) communicating the existence of the program to hunters, (3) educating the public regarding the growing needs of food banks.


    Once again, the Government's only obligation would be to pass the amendment to the Wildlife Act. 

 

 

If you are in support of this initiative, please sign below.

 

Questions on the petition or the program can be directed to 
Barry Fordham of NOHC
email: barfordham@live.com  twitter: @barfordham

Debbie Wiseman of Social Justice Co-op of NL
email: mrsdgrimes@gmail.com  twitter: @nevernotdebbie