DEER STALKING

George Wallace

The EC (may God bless her and all who sail in her) has been behind much recent legislation and because it is produced in one language, translated – who knows how accurately – into a dozen more and then interpreted by individual Governments, it is not always easy to know exactly what the dozy buggers in Brussels or Strasbourg actually intended in the first place.

However, received wisdom seems to indicate that few of the regulations apply to the recreational stalker or deer manager who handles relatively few carcasses in a year.

In your case, I think we are fairly safe to say that you can sell a complete carcass into the trade as long as it is still in the skin and as long as you keep proper records of where it came from and where it went to.

When it comes to processed food – in this case joints or whatever from a deer you have shot – you can give it to friends and family but you are not allowed to sell it into the wider human food chain unless you have all the proper qualifications, licensed premises, approved refrigeration and butchering facilities etc etc.

All of which rigmarole costs a bomb and is only viable for large producers.

It may be worth wondering why this is all necessary.

We have certainly had meat scares in the past but these have all involved farmed meat produced in huge quantities and processed in factories some of which were not as clean as one might have wished and could not, apparently, tell beef from pork, chicken, lamb or horse.

Can you remember hearing of anyone being poisoned after eating game meat?

No, neither can I. Which is probably why we mere amateur stalkers are exempt from most of the rules applied to the Big Boys.