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Liberal Nationals support deer meat for pet food industry

A Liberal Nationals plan to expand Victoria’s pet food program to include deer will mean less waste and more jobs for our region, Member for Eildon Cindy McLeish has said.

The plan was announced this week by Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh, adding to the Liberal Nationals’ commitment to make the kangaroo pet food trial, which expires at the end of March, permanent.

Cindy McLeish said the pet food program supported control efforts hunting groups were already undertaking.

“Hunters already make a significant contribution to controlling introduced deer, working to reduce the impact of deer on our environment and roads,” Cindy McLeish said.

“Currently hunters only take what they can consume themselves.

“Unwanted deer meat and carcasses left in the bush can contribute to other pest animal problems including fox and wild dog populations. These populations are already thriving in the bush.

“This policy improves the incentive to hunt and retrieve carcasses, while also supporting jobs and investment in our hunting and pet food processing sectors.”

The Australian Deer Association and pet food processors have shown strong support for the expansion of the pet food program to include deer.

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.

Mr 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.”

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