Welfare of farmed deer in New Zealand. 1. Management practices

Welfare of farmed deer in New Zealand. 1. Management practices
Peer reviewed


This review summarises research of management practices that potentially impact on the welfare of farmed deer. The processes of capture and initial domestication of feral deer caused many welfare problems but are now essentially complete in New Zealand. The health and production status of farmed deer, and readily visible indicators of their welfare are generally good, although preventive medicines and optimum management practices have not been universally adopted. Research into social behaviour, effects of yarding, weaning, mating, calving, shelter, shade and nutrition has identified ways of improving the welfare of farmed deer and has provided recommendations for deer industry quality assurance programmes. Research has identified transport design and practices that minimise the impact of transport on deer welfare and reduce carcass wastage caused by bruising during transport. Time in lairage prior to slaughter should be minimised and electrical stunning is a humane method of slaughter. Ongoing research is needed on management practices and farm environments to further improve the welfare of farmed deer, consistent with the goals of the New Zealand deer industry and its proactive approach to date.
KEY WORDS: Red deer, Cervus elaphus, farm management, handling, animal welfare, review

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