’Pathway to Compliance’ for deer farmers

News article |

An innovative new project led by Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu is offering deer farmers who cannot meet new regulations or wish to exit the industry, a free and easy alternative.

The ‘Pathway to Compliance’ farmed deer project, funded by the state government’s Landscape Priorities Fund, comes in response to the implementation of the Declared Animal Policy for deer under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, which has introduced new compliance measures on deer farming. These include the ear-tagging of farmed deer that are over 12-months of age, and the introduction of new fencing regulations.

The new compliance measures are in place to prevent farmed deer escaping and becoming feral. Feral deer have an impact on the regional economy and agriculture, pose a biosecurity risk, cause environmental degradation and are a public safety hazard on our roads.

Senior Compliance and Project Officer Steve Hearn, said the project has come at a welcome time for some deer farmers, who have been looking to exit the industry following the new regulations.

“In working with landholders to improve compliance around deer farming, a number are saying that they no longer want to keep deer. As necessary as the new regulations are, the cost and work required to implement them becomes a disincentive for some.

“Under the new regulations, anyone who keeps deer, whether for velvet or meat production, or as a pet, must meet minimum fencing standards that will ensure deer cannot escape. They must also ensure that any deer over 12 months of age have a visible ear tag at all times.

“Through this project, we are able to engage and pay for trained professional contractors to shoot and process deer on-site and to a standard suitable for animal consumption. All processed deer are donated to Monato Safari Park.

“It is important to understand that this is an opt-in project – no farmers are being forced to follow this path, but if they want to exit the industry, this is one option. They may choose to engage a contractor independently, especially if they wish to retain the meat for personal use or if they are seeking a direct financial benefit. It’s really about ensuring compliance and preventing farmed deer becoming feral deer,” said Mr Hearn.

The first farm to opt-in to the project resulted in 14 processed deer being donated to Monato Safari Park recently. Other properties have already agreed to participate, which will result more deer being donated.

“We have reached out to deer farmers throughout the region ensuring they are aware of the project and their legislative requirements. We are working with deer farmers, talking though options and processes. Our first operation was very successful and not only relieves the farmer of that burden, but also provides a valuable donation to Monato Safari Park.” said Mr Hearn.

Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu can be contacted on 8391 7500.

This project is supported by the Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, with funding from the South Australian Government’s Landscape Priorities Fund.

’Pathway to Compliance’ for deer farmers
Compliant deer with ear tags (stock photo).

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