An investment of £250,000 from Forestry and Land Scotland will see a new deer larder built in Highland Perthshire, highlighting the organisations commitment to deer management in the area.
The new facility will handle around 900 carcasses every year with the capacity to handle up to 1500.
Forestry and Land Scotlands Head of Wildlife Management, Ian Fergusson, said:
“Deer numbers are increasing across Scotland and in many locations this places an inordinate and unsustainable pressure on the habitats that they browse and graze.
“This imbalance presents a real challenge to Scotland’s contribution to mitigating the Climate Emergency because it presents a real threat to the fundamental activities of woodland creation and the sustainable woodland management of commercial timber crops.
“Twenty years ago, a larder that could handle around 300 carcasses a year was adequate – but today we need something with three times the capacity to ensure culling continues at the appropriate level in order to keep deer numbers at a sustainable level.
“That illustrates the nature of the deer population issue now – and we anticipate that the issue of sustainability is going to take some time to achieve.
“It’s also something that will require close partnership and collaborative working with all land managers.”
Following an assessment by the Independent Deer Working Group it is estimated that the deer population in Scotland is around 1 million.
Forestry and Land Scotland are one of many organisations tasked with keeping deer numbers to a sustainable level, culling around 40,000 animals annually, providing almost 1000 tonnes of wild Scottish venison towards the national, UK and international markets.
Dick Playfair, Secretary, the Scottish Venison Association, commented:
“The deer cull protects our trees and our natural environment and is an important aspect in helping to address the climate change crisis. But it also provides a source of excellent, healthy protein – venison is one of the healthiest red meats available.
“Investment in making sure that that supply is safe and can meet the capability for future demand is essential and it is good to see Scotland’s largest venison producer rising to that challenge.”
Scotland is the largest producer of venison in the United Kingdom with 3,500 tonnes of wild venison and 70 tonnes of farmed venison contributed annually. Around two thirds of this output enter the £100 million UK Game market with the remaining third being exported to countries across mainland Europe and increasingly the USA.