Why Is There So Much Venison In NY Soup Kitchens?

07.24.12 David Lumb

Because hunters have been trimming a 30 million-strong Whitetail deer population and donating it to food banks. As the deer populations of Washington, D.C., New Haven, and New York City have ramped up in recent years, suburban hunters have turned culling those populations–a process coined in the mid-Atlantic as “suburban whitetail management”–into benevolent donation to the hungry.

To be sure, the majority of meat donated to food banks and soup kitchens comes from weekend hunters in rural areas, but suburban donations are climbing. New York state donated 40,000 meals of meat in 2010, which was dwarfed by Virginia’s chapter of Hunters for the Hungry at 1.6 million meals–more than any other state as the national total exceeds 10 million meals of donated meat. Wouldn’t all that deer get tiresome?

Pamela Irvine, the executive director of the [Southwest Virginia branch of Feeding America], has been working with Hunters for the Hungry for years and told The Atlantic Cities that it’s always a big hit. “They love it,” she says. “The pantries like it, the clients like it. I get calls every year to ask when the venison is coming in.”

Lovely venison from an overflowing population across the nation sure beats slaughtered local geese.

(Photo: Nate Cepis/ANIMALNewYork)