venison casserole

Eat more wild venison urges national forestry body

2nd September 2021

With Scottish Venison Day (4th September) fast approaching, Forestry & Land Scotland is encouraging consumers to eat more wild venison.

Land managers across the country are working hard to keep Scotland’s deer numbers to a sustainable level, so high quality venison is in plentiful supply.

Speaking about Scottish Venison Day 2021, Ian Fergusson, FLS’ Head of Wildlife Management, said:

“Wild venison, a delicious and healthy meat, is one of Scotland’s best known fine foods with a growing international reputation.

“As land managers with the responsibility of looking after and expanding Scotland’s national forests, deer management is an important part of our work.

“Managing deer reduces their browsing and trampling impacts and is really important for biodiversity and – by protecting young trees – for meeting the challenges of the climate emergency.

“We deliver around one third of Scotland’s national cull, and virtually all of that venison is processed into fantastic, high quality and affordable food products.

“It’s a huge, secondary benefit from managing deer.”

As well as protecting young trees, growing forests and biodiversity, FLS deer management contributes to Scotland’s high quality food and drink sector by providing venison for the national, UK and international markets and helps sustain hundreds of jobs in rural communities around Scotland.

Wildlife rangers working for FLS stalk and cull the deer all year round, adhering to best practice and high standards of animal welfare. The carcasses are inspected, prepared and stored in FLS deer larders: this year FLS has invested heavily in new processing facilities – a new, £0.25m deer larder opened this summer at Tummel – underlining FLS’s commitment to deer management.

The venison carcasses are then sold to Highland Game Ltd and other local outlets, for processing and distribution across the UK and internationally, generating some £1.6m for the public purse and helping to offset the costs of work to protect fragile habitats from negative deer impacts.

FLS, Scotland’s largest wild venison producer, will cull around 40,000 animals this year and provide almost 1000 tonnes of wild Scottish venison.

Factbox

  1. Wild venison has strong credentials in terms of sustainability and traceability. The distance it travels from forest to plate is minimal so it’s a good choice for those concerned about the environmental footprint made by their food. It is also a healthy choice, because it is very low in fat and is a good source of iron, zinc and B vitamins.
  2. As the largest producer of venison in the UK, Scotland contributes around 3,500 tonnes of wild venison and 70 tonnes of farmed venison each year. Around two thirds of this enters the £100 million UK Game market, with the remaining third being exported to countries across mainland Europe and, increasingly, the USA.
  3. Scottish venison is subject to a quality assurance standard by Scottish Quality Wild Venison, which ensures the highest standards of food hygiene. Venison assured by this standard is also fully traceable as every deer carcass is given a unique identifier when it enters the deer larder.

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