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Farming Today This Week

27 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 18 February 2012

Demand for venison is increasing, yet few people decide to farm deer. Caz Graham visits a Staffordshire deer farm who provide venison to the supermarkets.

The UK's new-found appetite for venison could be a golden opportunity for more people to convert to deer farming. But the number of deer farms has failed to keep up with the demand. The Scottish Venison Partnership says at least 500 more farms are needed, to supply a market that's currently dominated by imports. Moira Hickey meets Ali Loder, who keeps around 250 red deer near Strathdon in Aberdeenshire to find out what tempted him into deer farming

The number of wild deer in the UK has doubled in the past ten years, now standing at an estimated 2 million. Wild deer can cause damage to crops, woodland and can cause road collisions. For these reasons, each year 350,000 wild deer are culled across the UK. But some people say that we should be wary of culling too many of the animals. Peter Fraser from the Scottish Gamekeepers Association thinks that there needs to be plenty of wild deer to protect an already fragile rural economy.

In England, the Forestry Commission culls about 12,500 wild deer every year. The deer then gets sold on as venison meat. Our reporter Emma Weatherill joined Forestry Commission game keeper Matthew Davies early in the morning as he set out stalking deer in the New Forest.

Presented by Caz Graham. Produced by Emma Weatherill.


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