North Louisiana lawmaker drafts bill to regulate deer meat in shelters

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Is it good meat or a potential health hazard? The question about whether homeless shelters should accept and serve deer meat has caught the attention of a Louisiana lawmaker. He is drafting a bill to better regulate venison.

State Representative Jeff Thompson of North Louisiana is working on a bill to make sure deer meat can get proper inspection and labeling so shelters can serve it.

Last month, this Shreveport shelter was forced to throw out thousands of pounds of donated deer meat, causing a public outcry. St. Vincent de Paul's Michael Acaldo understands why.

"We never want to see any waste. We kind of have a zero tolerance," said Acaldo. "When it comes to getting food in, it's sometimes feast or famine."

But, Acaldo says safety is the number one concern when it comes to serving the community. That's why he thinks Thompson's bill is a good idea.

"When you're serving people that are truly in need, you have all the health issues," said Thompson. "Sometimes their immune systems are not as robust as some of us that are getting proper health care, so it's all critical to providing a good, safe meal."

If passed, Thompson's bill would not mean you could not donate deer or other wild game. You would just have to have it professionally processed and packaged before a shelter can accept it.

St. Vincent de Paul president and CEO Michael Acaldo wants to remind people donations are accepted year round. He says this time of the year, right after the holidays, is usually when stock at shelters and food banks gets low.

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