Officials say “zombie” deer are not affecting Greater Lansing Food Bank

Meridian Township officials and food bank directors said deer infected by chronic wasting disease is not being donated to food banks as venison. According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the chronic wasting disease is a contagious, neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. It causes a degeneration of the brain resulting in exceptionally thin, abnormal behaviour, loss of bodily functions and death. There is a popular name for the infected animals: zombie deer. 

Meridian Township is in a management zone where there is a chance the deer still have the disease because it was found there before. Kelsey Dillon, Park Naturalist and Stewardship Coordinator in Meridian Township’s Parks and Recreation Department, said part of venison donations to food banks comes from hunters who are members of the Meridian Township Deer Management Program.