Deer could soon be turned into pet food, with the Victorian Government considering allowing processing of the game species.
A Government spokesman told The Weekly Times it was considering changes that would “help with the processing of game species, specifically wild deer”.
“For the processing of wild deer on any commercial basis, amendments would be required to the Wildlife Act 1975, the Meat Industry Act 1993 and associated regulations,” the spokesman said.
Peter “Pilso” Richards aims to set up a kill house in Swifts Creek to process the wild-deer operation to produce commercial pet food.
He believes if there is a monetary incentive then numbers will be reduced taking pressure off the farmers.
Mr Richards’ idea would see farmers apply for permits to allow a select group of qualified hunters on to private property to harvest the pests for processing at Swifts Creek.
Mr Richards’ idea has won early support from local farmers and hunters.
The Australian Deer Association executive Barry Howlett said:
“If the deer are over-abundant the farmers should have the tools they need to manage them,”
“We wouldn’t be opposed, if it’s tightly controlled,” Australian Deer Association executive Barry Howlett said of the deer-processing proposal.
Representing the Victorian Farmers Federation Omeo branch, Mr Turner said a deer-processing facility would provide employment and much-needed pest management, as farmers struggled with deer destroying dog-proof fences, pastures and crops.
“There’s nothing like a highly fertilised crop to attract deer like a magnet,” he said.
Mr Turner knew of one farmer who had “shot 150 deer over winter just trying to keep a lid on the problem”.