The Nationals are spruiking jobs could be created in Seymour from including deer into a state pet food program.
The party has pledged to include deer in the program, set to help control deer numbers, if the Coalition is elected in November.
Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the party recognised the role hunters played in controlling problem deer numbers.
‘‘Not only are deer a real problem in the high country ... but numbers have increased to such an extent that they are now being found in vineyards in the Strathbogie Ranges,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘We have already announced we will make the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and extend it across the state. Expanding it to include deer meat makes sense.’’
Ms Ryan also said record numbers of deer were hunted in 2016, claiming Victoria’s 35000 licensed hunters took 100000 deer, while contributing $142.1million to the state’s economy.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said including deer meat in the pet food program would be good for regional jobs.
‘‘The pet food program is common sense — it makes use of a resource that would otherwise go to waste, creating jobs and investment in regional communities,’’ Mr Walsh said.
‘‘Only the Liberal Nationals support our hunters and will give our pet food processors investment certainty by making the kangaroo pet food trial permanent and expanding the program to include deer.’’
Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young said deer is a valuable resource in Victoria and that he is open to this approach to solving the problem of wastage. However, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party member said the focus should not just be on pet food.
‘‘We’re definitely open to it ... but we would like to see more emphasis on human consumption,’’ he said.
‘‘I absolutely adore venison as a food source, so I don’t want to get bogged down with this notion that it can only be for pet food, and the same goes for kangaroos.
‘‘I am in support of using any animals that are taken to the best we can — if that’s pet food, then great — but I’d also like to see things taken a bit further and for there to be a bit of regulation change around being able to use them for human consumption.’’