A New Zealand father who photographed his daughter biting into a raw deer heart and posted the image to social media drew fire from anti-hunting activists, but doctors say there’s very little harm. 

After Johnny Yuile posted two photos on the NZ Woman Hunters Facebook page of him and his 8-year-old daughter over a recently shot stag and another photo showing his daughter biting into the heart saying she “took a bite from its warm quivering heart,” the photo drew yet another onslaught of death threats and personal attacks by animal rights activists. 

The girl had recently taken shot her first deer on a tricky approach and this was a way for the pair to commemorate the hunt with the age-old practice of eating the raw heart. But for non-hunters it was another example of barbarism. The photos have since been taken down with an apology to whoever became the victim of an attack. 

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“Most of the negativity is coming from overseas and these people sadly lack an understanding for the New Zealand hunting culture,” read a statement by the page. “It’s very simple really; if you don’t like what you see then just unlike the page. There is no need for death threats and other horrible comments that just upset people.”

One of the criticisms by the anti-hunting crowd is that eating raw meat is dangerous and the father should be brought on charges. But actually, according to the evidence eating extremely fresh raw meat carries little if any dangers. It would be much different if the meat had been sitting out or was handled by multiple people through processing. 

“There’s risks anytime you eat meat period, there are risks, said ER physician Dr. Travis Stork a host on the daytime television show The Doctors. “That’s just the reality. But there’s also a big difference if that heart had been sitting out for 48 hours. It’s different than coming across road kill.”

For a lot of non-hunters, it’s difficult to understand the traditions that come along with the timeless practice of hunting. For Yuile and his daughter Chloe, the pair spent the night in the woods and woke up the next morning to make the kill. He told New Zealand Stuff that he has been hunting with his daughter since she was in a carrier

For her part, the girl said she just went for it.

“I saw my uncle bite the heart so I thought I might bite it too,” she told the web site. “It tasted quite nice.”