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The Full Story

Wild Venison

Fifteen years ago, our proprietor, John Kelly, wrote to the Tasmanian Deer Advisory Committee with a proposal to allow Lenah Game Meats to process wild deer. As his submission explained, deer were a significant pest for farmers. They were also a growing environmental problem and a road user hazard.Deer were being culled in large numbers on farms and often simply left to rot. All the regulatory requirements and infrastructure were in-place to commercially harvest, transport and process the deer hygienically and humanely. Furthermore, Lenah had established markets willing to pay a premium for a wild harvested Tasmanian venison product. Surely it was a ‘no-brainer.’ Everyone agreed, except a succession of ministers. 

After 15 years of lobbying, signed petitions and campaigns, with lots of help from many people and organisations including Lynda Jones, Bob Campbell and Lindsay Kelly from the Noa Group, TCCI, Tasmanian Hospitality Association, TFGA, Michelle O’Byrne MP, farmers like Simon Cameron and Roderic O’Connor, chefs and restauranteurs such as Craig Wills from Stillwater and Vince Trim from Mona, we were finally able to process wild Tasmanian deer.

In the end, a more forceful legalistic approach by John appears to be the thing that finally changed the Ministers mind.

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How does the harvest work ? 

 Deer are procured off the same farms Lenah takes wallaby, by the same Harvesters, operating under the same regulatory framework. All animals are taken at night by Harvesters who have undergone a TAFE course and been assessed and accredited by government inspectors. 

Using spotlights or night vision scopes, all animals are shot in the brain with high powered ammunition giving the most humanely produced red meat possible. The deer are partially eviscerated in the field and placed under refrigeration, bringing the deep muscle temperature down to less than 7 degrees within 24 hours.

The bodies are then transported to Lenah’s licenced game meat processing premise, where they are skun and subject to post-mortem inspection by licenced Meat Inspectors to ensure they are healthy and fit for human consumption.

After this they are boned and packed into a range of retail and food service products, widely available in Tasmanian retail outlets and restaurants.

Wild harvested Tasmanian venison is sensational - consistently tender, flavoursome and high quality.

Chefs, diners, ‘pestatarians’ (people who chose to only eat pest species) and foodies are delighting in finally being able to purchase Tasmanian wild venison. We assume farmers, environmentalists, motorists and general community members agree. For the older and wiser John, he is just pleased common sense finally prevailed.

We would like to express thanks and gratitude to all the people and organisations that shared the journey. There were many including:

The noagroup

Tasmanian Hospitality Association

Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association

Michelle O'Byrne MP

Stillwater Restaurant

MONA - Museum of Old and New Art

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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