Hunting Hygiene – principles and practice in the field

by Steven Simpson


The brand-new specialist title Hunting Hygiene is an internationally unparalleled textbook, introducing the methods, principles and essential good practice of the clean handling of wild game meat entering the human food chain. It covers in detail the anatomy and physiology of game animals, principally the larger mammals of wild pigs and deer, their diseases, the identification of ailing and diseased individuals, and the changes caused by diseases in game animals and how to assess them. It also covers the principles and practice of good hygiene from before the shot is taken through to carcass management.

An essential part of hunting hygiene is the identification and assessment of pathological conditions, the possible risks to people caused by animal diseases and how these risks can be diminished. In this respect, the book is clearly definitive. By and large, readers will appreciate the importance of careful carcass handling, yet you may join me in finding surprising the number and diversity of pathological conditions that have been identified.

Hunting Hygiene details and illustrates a dozen serious diseases caused by viruses, 20 caused by bacteria, and continues with those precipitated by the yeasts and moulds which cause ringworm and aspergillosis, diseases caused by protozoa (seven in total), flukes, tapeworms, roundworms and arthropod parasites. For good measure, conditions caused by direct and indirect poisonings by heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants (POP compounds), pesticides, the ingestion of toxic plants, fungal toxins and poisonings caused by degraded game feeds are also presented.

If that hasn’t already put you off your dinner, there are two comprehensive and fully illustrated chapters on the identification of sick animals. This includes their external and internal symptoms, the detailed assessment of the carcass and viscera, covering every imaginable possibility and outcome from the presentation of poor skin and antlers to contusions and bruising, cancers and funny smells. It is not for the faint-hearted. Attention is given to the opportunity for further investigations by the taking of samples.

In systematic order and with relentless attention to the smallest of details, authors Sauli Laaksonen and Peter Paulsen then address carcass handling. This includes bleeding, gutting, field-dressing, transport, skinning, refrigeration, cold storage, hanging, slaughterhouse design, dress code, personal hygiene, the care and cleaning of work and storage areas, equipment and surface hygiene, drainage, monitoring and safety risks.

You get the picture – this is virtually the first and last word on the subject. Here are the tools to detect and assess diseases in game animals and the universally applicable principles of hygiene during hunting and handling meat from wild game to safe preparation methods in the kitchen, illustrated by many examples.

Not forgetting the unfortunate potential of food poisoning, the book covers viral, bacterial and parasitic food poisonings. If you are a restaurateur, no doubt you will be even more selective about where your food comes from after reading this!

The content of this textbook is enlivened by unique color photographs and Laaksonen’s striking watercolor illustrations. The authors’ exceptional insight into the topic, combined with years of collecting material, make this book a riveting exploration into the concept of hunting hygiene.

This is a standard reference book intended primarily for hunters, as well as those educational institutes that teach and offer courses in this field. It is also eminently suitable for biologists, veterinary surgeons, doctors, public health officials and the general public who are interested in the diversity and utilisation of nature.

Hunting Hygiene retails for around $140 and is available from specialist booksellers.

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