HUNTING DURING COVID-19
Hunting is one of the oldest known activities as it certainly dates back to the birth of the species Homo Sapiens. Throughout the centuries, hunting for food has done much more than just provide nourishment: it has been a driver of social transformation and organization of society. In the last 2 year the subject matter of hunting has once again stepped back into the limelight because of the explosion of the covid19 pandemic.
The report of the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) indicates that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, most likely performed the species leap from animals to humans through an intermediate species. The authors of the report suggest examining the supply chains of public markets coming from those hunting and preying on wildlife andthe compliance with sanitary conditions, trying to identify exactly which species are involved. Hunting and related activities hide serious health risks, and L.A.V. (the most important Italian animal rights association), according to which hunting “is a huge domestic wet market”, is sounding the alarm.
The hunting practices regarding the management of the bodies of animals killed during hunting trips provide, for example with ungulates, the evisceration and exsanguination of animals with serious deficiencies in complying with the hygienic and sanitary regulations. During the first lockdown, hunting was suspended for a few months and then resumed more active than ever, indeed, during some red zone periods: while ordinary people could not even leave their homes or take their children to the park, while Italian streets weredeserted and pervaded by a deafening silence, hunters were completely free to go out and shoot, to disperse their exploded cartridges and their correlated lead in the Italian woods, to gather in indoor environments and to toast with wine and liquors to the imminent hunting trip.
Numerous are the cases of infections and hospitalizations due to the consumption of infected meats. In
January alone, in the Valsusa area, 50 people were urgently hospitalized due to meat infected with Trichinellosis, occupying 50 beds in the already overloaded local hospital, which was in great difficulty due to the already large number of covid patients. Also just a few months ago, regional authorities confirmed the first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Piedmont. The analysis of a wild boar carcass carried out by the Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute of Piedmont, Liguria, and Valle d’Aosta revealed the presence of the disease. African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating infectious disease of pigs, usually deadly. No vaccine exists to combat this virus.
So why are we so afraid of hunting and feeding on wild animals like the bat or pangolin in China and not about our native species, which are hunted daily? Why are we forgetting how the virus originated?