Deer proposal

By Country News

A Victorian Liberal-Nationals Government would work with hunting groups and pet food manufacturers to expand the state’s pet food processing program to include deer if elected in November.

Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the Liberal-Nationals recognised the role hunters played in controlling problem deer numbers and also saw an opportunity to further support Victoria’s pet meat processing industry.

Mr Walsh said Victoria’s deer population needed appropriate management to limit negative impacts on public and private land.

‘‘Introduced deer populations must be managed, both for environment protection and also for safety on our roads,’’ he said.

‘‘Expanding Victoria’s pet food industry to include deer meat makes sense because it makes productive use of hunted deer that may otherwise go to waste and it also supports jobs and investment in our hunting and pet food processing sectors.’’

Record numbers of deer were hunted in 2016, with Victoria’s 35000 licensed hunters recording nearly 100000 deer — almost twice the average since 2009. In the same year, deer hunters contributed $142.1million to Victoria’s economy.

Both the Australian Deer Association and the VFF have expressed support for expanding the pet food industry to include deer.

Mr Walsh said similar to the Liberal-Nationals support for making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent, including deer meat in the pet food program would be good for regional jobs.