Farm to table’s been all the rage for a few years now, and eating what you hunt goes hand in hand with the “know your food” ethos. Thus some particularly timely bad news from Germany: Hunters are increasingly unable to eat the wild boar they kill because the animals are radioactive.
Germans have the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown to thank—it has given Europe’s boar population such a profound taint of radioactivity that in 2009, more than a half million dollars was paid out by the German government to hunters in compensation for inedible meat. The problem, which is perpetuated by the absorption of radiation by tasty fungi that the boars feed upon, is not expected to fade for another 50 years.
And as the German publication Spiegel Online tells it, the need to cull the booming boar population has never been more dire:
“Stories of marauding pigs hit the headlines with startling regularity: Ten days ago, a wild boar attacked a wheelchair-bound man in a park in Berlin; in early July, a pack of almost two dozen of the animals repeatedly marched into the eastern German town of Eisenach, frightening residents and keeping police busy; and on Friday morning, a German highway was closed for hours after 10 wild boar broke through a fence and waltzed onto the road.”