DEER FARMING IN FRANCE

 

Deer parks have existed in France for many centuries but it was not until the beginning of the 1980's that some sheep farmers dissatisfied with commercial returns and intensification sought an extensive enterprise to produce a natural meat for consumers. Fallow deer were established in the south and Reed deer  in the North and West of France on good land often farmed more intensively.

The first proper Fallow deer farm with facilities was established by the President of SNÉD (Syndicat National des Éleveurs de Daims) Didier Rogues-Rogery. Members of SNÉD have to abide by a code of practice that outlaws intensive farming and housing. As a result there was growth in the south until, at the instigation of the hunting lobby, the Government prohibited the sale of farmed venison outside the hunting season. It also became necessary to obtain proper qualifications and 6 years' practical experience before setting up a farm.

This prevented development of deer farming; farmers had the choice of stopping, investing in expensive facilities or to become a hunting park (min. 30 ha) so many have given up.

In 1995 there were 637 Fallow deer parks/farms in France carrying 12000 does and in the region of 250 Red deer farms carrying 17000 hinds together producing 1000 tonnes of meat per annum.

SNÉD has 90 members, of which 50 have proper facilities. The association concentrated on political lobbying and promotional work, publishing recipe books and a quarterly magazine. FENÉC (Fédèration Nationale des Éleveurs de Cerfs) is the association for Reed deer farmers and has 60 members in the north.

FALLOW DEER

Herd sizes are distributed as follows:

17% have less than 10 does

21% have between 10 and 24 does

29% have between 25 and 49 does

25% have between 50 and 99 does 

4% have between 100 and 199 does

4% have more than 200 does.

Fallow deer farmers operate thus:

32% of fallow deer farmers have no other activity

20% of fallow deer farmers have a non-agricultural activity

48% of fallow deer farmers have another agricultural activity.

Sales distribution is:

20% of the farmers sell some animals for hunting parks - 3,8% of the animals sold.

32% of the farms sell some animals for reproduction - 5,2% of the animals sold.

76% of the farms sell their animals for venison - 9,1% of the animals sold.

60,1% of the carcass to hyper and supermarkets.

19,9% of the carcass to restaurants.

9,1% of the carcass to specialist shops.

5,7% of the carcass to direct sales to the consumer.

5,2% of the carcass to wholesalers.

The price of carcasses sold to retailers at 70 FF/Kg (£7.44/kg) or 28 FF/Kg (£2.98/kg) skin on, has not changed for 5 years (1998).

GENERAL

Marketing: The product is promoted as a natural meat simple to cook and good for the diet. Some farmers also organize tourist visits to the farm and sell direct to customers or through restaurants.

Hygiene: On farm slaughter is allowed but carcasses must be delivered to EU approved slaughter house for processing within 1 hour. Ante mortem inspection is carried out before slaughter.

Support: There is no EU support except for a very small subsidy for extensive farming. The French government is not helpful to deer farmers at present (1998).

Representatives


MR PATRICK VAN AUBEL

La Vallée des Cerfs

Chez Mairine

86430 Luchapt

France

Tel/fax:+(33)549 48 8965

E-mail:cerfcheval@wanadoo.fr



MR DIDIER ROQUES-ROGERY

President - Syndicat National des Eleveurs de Cervidés (SNEC)

Chateau de Laplanque

Pradinas

12240 Rieupeyroux

France

Tel: +(33) 608 81 06 86

E-mail: roques.rogery.d@wanadoo.fr

 

 

Photos

MR PATRICK VAN AUBEL