Scotland’s wild venison sector launches ‘statement of intent’ on greenhouse gas emissions in response to climate emergency

Scotland’s wild venison sector has come together to produce a statement of intent (SOI) committing to research and take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Scottish Government’s call to respond to the climate emergency.

The statement has been produced by the Scottish Venison Association with major players in the Scottish wild deer and venison sectors including the Association of Deer Management Groups, BASC Scotland, Lowland Deer Network Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK, venison processors Ardgay Game and Highland Game, Scottish Quality Wild Venison, and NatureScot.

The statement covers both the management of wild deer and associated activities and the processing of wild venison. It plots where the acknowledged ‘hotspots’ are in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and what can be done at all levels to reduce these, with a target set for the sector to reach carbon neutral status or better by 2035.

These hotspots include, on the estate management side for example enteric fermentation from wild deer, vehicle use, stalking visitors’ carbon footprint and waste disposal. At processor level they include transport, fuel, packaging and refrigeration.

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said:

“I welcome this clear statement of intent from the venison sector and its resolve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for wild venison.

“It is encouraging to see the sector setting itself a target of carbon neutral status by 2035, contributing to Scotland’s ambition of being a net zero nation by 2045.

“I look forward to seeing the work as it develops and also learning from the proposed research study.”

Richard Cooke, Chairman of the Scottish Venison Association, said:

“This is a really good example of the whole sector coming together – private, public, and NGOs – to look at the issues and plot the way forward. This SOI means that we are all facing in the same direction, that we appreciate the challenge, and know where we want to be and by when.  The next step will be to commission research to fill the knowledge gaps so that we can then take action based on sound science.”

Alan McDonnell, Conservation Manager, Trees for Life, and representing Scottish Environment LINK on the Scottish wild venison carbon group, said:

“Everyone involved in deer management wants to see the wild venison sector thrive.  This Statement of Intent shows the breadth of commitment to producing this high-quality product in a truly sustainable way for climate and nature alike.”

Pete Moore, Wildlife Resource Project Officer, NatureScot, said:

“It’s great to see the stakeholders in the venison sector setting out a plan to move the industry towards net zero.  Deer management is necessary to help tackle biodiversity loss, and the venison sector intends to make wild venison – a local and healthy source of protein – an even more attractive and sustainable food source.”

Printed copies of the SOI will be available on the ADMG and other stands at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair in the grounds of Scone Palace from 1 – 3 July 2022.  The Statement of Intent is also available here.

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