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Published: 2005-04-13 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is concerned that this year’s low prices for venison could lead to illegal releases of deer into forest areas where they could threaten the environment and increase the risk of bovine Tb in cattle.

Biosecurity Committee Chairman David Peart said the Council welcomed Conservation Minister Chris Carter’s clarification yesterday of where deer repellent would be used to prevent by-kill of deer where 1080 was used for pest control in forests.

He said Environment Waikato would encourage identification and prosecution of people who released deer illegally into forests, because of the threat to both forests and agriculture from pest deer.

“Environment Waikato has supported development of deer repellent as we recognise that the hunting fraternity is well established and some compromise has had to be made to accommodate the commercial and recreational activities of hunters.

“In other forest areas deer will continue to be viewed as pests because of their detrimental effect on the bush. We’re concerned about illegal releases of deer in areas where they will pose a threat not only to the environment but also to the fight against Tb.”