MONTREAL, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Quebec officials said 10 selected restaurants around the province will be allowed in the fall to serve wild game dishes including beaver, moose and squirrel.
Yves-Francois Blanchet, Quebec's wildlife minister, said restaurant chefs have been asking officials for decades to allow them to serve wild game meats, but the rules currently do not allow for the sale of meat from animals hunted or trapped in the wild, the (Montreal) Gazette reported Monday.
"The hunt is intimately linked with our history and our food heritage and has been since the days of New France," Blanchet told a news conference at the Toque restaurant in Montreal.
He said the restaurants will be allowed to serve the meats this fall as part of a pilot program to boost tourism from international food fans. He said wildlife and agriculture officials will closely supervise the plan to ensure species are not endangered and the food is safe for human consumption.
Chef Normand Laprise, owner of Toque, welcomed the announcement. He said allowing businesses to sell wild game meat will both expand the food source for the area and reduce waste from unused game meat. He said figures indicate as little as 40 percent of meat from the 26,000 to 28,000 wild deer killed during the annual hunting season is butchered and cooked for food.