National

Mobile slaughterhouse for wild game debuts in Shikoku as boar, deer numbers soar

Kyodo

A town in Shikoku has developed a meat-processing truck designed to quickly slaughter wild boar and deer killed by hunters, in an effort to utilize game that previously went to waste.

Dubbed the “gibier car,” the mobile slaughterhouse began full-fledged operations in the town of Yusuhara, Kochi Prefecture, in August and is the first of its kind in Japan. “Gibier” is the French word for wild game.

The local hunting industry has welcomed the truck as an alternative to traditional slaughterhouses, the nearest of which is far from town. The project started when the municipality was struggling with crop damage caused by an increase in wild boar and deer.

In Yusuhara, about 1,500 wild boars and deer were captured in fiscal 2016, about 10 times the figure in fiscal 2008. Other than those consumed by the hunters themselves, the majority of the game was not used for meat and went to waste.

The central and local governments are in agreement that crop damage will worsen as the boar and deer populations grow following the expansion of their habitat amid lower snowfall and the graying of the hunters.

The 2-ton, 6.5-meter-long gibier truck, equipped with a loading platform, cost ¥21.75 million (around $197,000). It was jointly developed by the Japan Gibier Promotion Association, based in Nagano Prefecture, and a Toyota Motor Corp. subsidiary in Nagano.

The truck can be dispatched to the location where the animals are captured and process them immediately to maintain freshness. It is also touted as more environmentally friendly since the slaughter will not take place outdoors.

The vehicle is equipped with a chiller that can store up to five boar and deer carcasses, and also has a dissection room where their skin and internal organs can be cut out and disinfected.

A mountainous community center in the town will operate the truck in cooperation with the local hunting group.

Yusuhara Mayor Tomio Yano expressed hope that the truck will revitalize the local economy, saying it will help “use what had once been discarded to the mountains, to generate revenue and create jobs.”

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