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Minister Calls For Report On Feral Deer Exports

16 April 2002

Minister Calls For Report On Whether To Ban Feral Deer Exports

It was time to look hard at the wisdom of continuing to export feral deer meat, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said he felt that recent charges of deer poachers raised serious questions about New Zealand's ability to provide sufficient assurances about the origin of such meat.

"New Zealand has an excellent reputation for safe, quality food. The involvement of people who resort to dishonest tactics in the supply of feral meat introduces a risk that is very hard to manage. We absolutely have to know the true origin of the animals."

Mr Sutton said the amount of wild deer processed was small, compared with the amount of farmed deer meat produced.

Only a small amount of feral deer meat is produced a year, compared with a much larger amount of farmed deer. In the year to June last year, New Zealand exported 15,693 tonnes of venison, and it has been estimated that about 1000 tonnes was from feral animals. The domestic market also consumes a significant quantity.

"I don't like the idea of a few bandits putting a significant industry at risk."

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry officials are to report to Mr Sutton as soon as possible on the issues surrounding a possible ban on feral deer meat exports.

Ends

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