Over the years, The Baptist Children’s Village has been blessed by the generosity of Mississippi hunters, who have donated venison from their hunts. The value of their generosity cannot be overstated.
As most of those hunters are now aware, Mississippi faces a new challenge regarding harvesting and consuming venison. The emergence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the northern and western regions of the state has prompted responses by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH). MDWFP has established CWD Management Zones in the affected regions of the state. Establishing these zones also resulted in the implementation of stringent regulations related to processing venison from deer taken within these Management Zones. Information regarding these zones and the accompanying regulations can be found on the MDWFP website.
Since 1997, the World Health Organization has recommended that all agents of known Prion diseases, one of which is CWD, be kept from entering the human food chain. The Mississippi Department of Health, as of March 2019, recommends that hunters consider not eating venison from deer harvested in an area where CWD is known to be present. After reviewing these warnings and the available research, The Baptist Children’s Village determined it is in the best interest of our children for us to exercise caution and, while we acknowledge that there is currently no strong evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans, we have elected to implement the following practice:
The Baptist Children’s Village will now only accept donations of venison harvested and processed in areas of the state outside of the CWD Management Zones. When venison donations are offered, we will be asking for the Mississippi county from which it was harvested, and where it was processed, before accepting the donation.
Additional information regarding CWD can also be obtained from the CWD Alliance website. Readers are encouraged to investigate CWD via these and other sources. The emergence of CWD in Mississippi will, no doubt, change hunting, harvesting and charitable practices across the state.
Thank you for understanding our need to implement this new procedure and, consequently, helping us maintain one of the strongest pillars of the child care provided by the BCV – that of protecting the health and safety of the children whom God has entrusted to our care.