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Scottish wild venison sector pledges to be carbon neutral by 2035

Scotland's wild venison sector has collaborated on a statement of intent for emissions reductions. Picture courtesy of Laurie Campbell.
Scotland's wild venison sector has collaborated on a statement of intent for emissions reductions. Picture courtesy of Laurie Campbell.

Scotland’s wild venison sector has pledged to become carbon neutral or better by 2035.

The Scottish Venison Association has produced a statement of intent (SOI) on behalf of the sector with a commitment that it will research ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take action on the issue.

The SOI was produced in collaboration with various sector bodies including the Association of Deer Management Groups, the Scottish arm of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), venison processors Ardgay Game and Highland Game, and NatureScot.

It covers both the management of wild deer and the associated activities, as well as the processing of wild venison, and identifies various “hotspots” in the supply chain in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Hotspots in estate management include enteric fermentation of wild deer, vehicle use, the carbon footprint of stalking visitors, and waste disposal. For processors, the hotspots include transport, fuel, packaging and refrigeration.

Scottish Venison Association chairman, Richard Cooke, said the SOI was a good example of the whole sector coming together to look at the issues and plot a way forward.

All parts of the wild venison supply chain have come together to produce the SOI.

“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,” said Mr Cooke.

“The next step will be to commission research to fill the knowledge gaps so that we can then take action based on sound science.”

Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, welcomed the statement and said: “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.”

NatureScot’s wildlife resource project officer, Pete Moore, said it was great to see industry stakeholders working together to reach net zero.

He said: “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.”

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