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The Mercury article ‘Push to plate up deer’ (February 8) highlighted two sides of a very important triangle:

  1. Restauranteur Eladio Doniz is absolutely correct pointing out the delicious taste attributes and health benefits associated with eating wild caught game meats, specifically those found in Tasmania’s bushlands.
  2. Anthony Archer from the Deer Farmers Council is also correct in pointing out that the ‘sale of wild shot venison poses a risk to established businesses without providing any benefits’.

I contend there is a third side to this equation:

  1. That recreational deer hunters, indeed hunters of all legally hunted meats in Tasmania be allowed to share the bounty with not only their own extended family members but also to share the meat with other families across the community who may be doing it tough. My understanding of our current food safety regulations prohibit that from happening, that at present the hunter may only use the meat for his or her personal consumption.

I accept the rationale for this current position as no Meat Inspector has endorsed the product as safe for human consumption, but I contend we should improve our meat processing systems and regulations by upskilling existing Butchers to the standard necessary to endorse the safety (or otherwise) of the meat delivered to the Butcher by the Hunter, process the meat into various cuts/mince etc., and mark the product clearly ‘not for sale’ and released back to the Hunter to use or give away to those in need.

TasTAFE could easily be engaged to upskill interested Butchers for this role.

This model is used in many countries worldwide to prevent waste, support families in need and respect the interests of commercial operations.

Given we are at a cross roads with the State Govt reviewing the Wild Fallow Deer Management Plan I believe this idea should be given thorough consideration.

Rick Cazaly. Lenah Valley.