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How do you prefer your boar—rare, medium-rare or radioactive?


Rodrigo Cokting
Staff writer

Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 10:30 AM - It may not be part of our every-day diet in Canada, but eating wild boar is not unheard of in Saxony, Germany.

But official reports are now giving many a good reason to reconsider that. Government scientists have tested the meat of more than 750 boars and found that about 300 of them test positive for Cesium-137.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to this kind of radiation can result in increased risk of cancer. While we all are exposed to it in small amounts through the soil and water, the amount is usually not high enough. If the amount encountered increases, that can lead to serious burns and even death.

But how did these German wild boars turn radioactive? The answer may lie in northern Ukraine, 28 years ago. The fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear accidents have had serious ramifications throughout Europe. Wind and rain carried the fallout west as far as the forests in France. Experts think it could take 50 years for the radioactivity to disappear from the some of the mushrooms and truffles in the area, which tend to carry the radioactivity fairly well.


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The wild boars have tested well above the 600 becquerels per kilogram that is legally permitted. In fact some tests closer to 10,000 becquerels. The government in Germany destroys any game that is too radioactive to be consumed.

A similar situation is happening in Japan. In 2011, a tsunami hit the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant resulting in the meltdown of three of the plant's six nuclear reactor. While mroe than 150,000 people left the area at the time, wild pigs don't necessarily follow evacuation orders. Now just 30 kilometers from the site, ni a cedar forest a wild pig population is causing similar problems. Some of them are contaminated with radiation 500 times the government's safety limit. So now the local government has set up a program to eradicate the pigs. Hunters kill the animals and send back the meat for testing.

And it's not just radioactivity affecting the animals. The relatively empty habitat has allowed the wild boars to grow freely with populations getting out of control.


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