Gippsland South The Nationals Agriculture

Nationals support deer meat for pet food industry

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien has welcomed the announcement that The Nationals will work with hunting groups and pet food processors to expand Victoria’s pet food processing program to include deer, if elected later this year.

Mr O’Brien said the Liberal and Nationals Coalition has recognised the role hunters play in controlling problem deer numbers and have seen an opportunity to further support Victoria’s pet meat processing industry.

“At one time, deer were only a problem in the high country, but the increase in deer numbers has meant that many have moved out of the Great Dividing Range and into lower areas of Gippsland, including Gippsland South,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We have already announced we would make the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and extend it across the state. Expanding it to include deer meat makes sense.

“Currently hunters only take what they can consume themselves. This policy improves the incentive to hunt and it also supports jobs and investment in our hunting and pet food processing sectors.

“The scheme reduces waste, reduces pest pressure on local farms and the environment and creates local jobs.”

Record numbers of deer were hunted in 2016, with Victoria’s 35,000 licenced hunters recording nearly 100,000 deer – almost twice the average since 2009. In the same year, deer hunters contributed $142.1 million for Victoria’s economy.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter 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.

“Daniel Andrews is standing in the way of new regional industry because he is scared of growing support for the Greens in Labor’s inner-city electorates,” Mr Walsh said.

“The pet food program is common sense. It makes use of a resource that would otherwise go to waste, creating jobs and investment in regional communities.

“Only the Liberal Nationals support our hunters and will give our pet food processors investment certainty by making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and expanding the program to include deer.”

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

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