Deer are considered the cute forest animals par excellence, not just since the “Bambi” cartoon. But the animals also cause damage to nature and agriculture, for example eating the buds of young trees so that they cannot grow.
In Great Britain, deer have become a real nuisance in recent years. The tabloid "Sun" uses a historical comparison: Since William the Conqueror and his Normans invaded England in 1066, not so many deer have roamed the islands. Now ministries had “secret” plans to shoot the forest animals en masse.
However, the project that affects thousands of small children in the kingdom is anything but secret: They are supposed to eat the problem deer. The industry initiative “Eat Wild”, which wants to make the consumption of game meat more popular, has teamed up with a kindergarten provider. In the kindergartens of the Tops Day Nurseries company, game is now on the menu in the form of five different dishes, including spaghetti bolognese, venison burgers as well as wraps and pies with game.
The meals are offered in 32 daycare centers in the southern English counties of Dorset and Hampshire. “Eat Wild” calculates that 4,000 children will eat the new dishes – that’s 3,000 portions per month. The meals are specially designed to suit the children's tastes because they already know similar dishes and generally like to eat them. The only difference – the meat now no longer comes from beef, chicken or pork – but from deer.
The initiative's representatives emphasize that game is much more sustainable than conventional meat: without antibiotics and with less fat and more vitamins and nutrients. In addition, the deer lived appropriately until they were shot and ended up on the plate.
"The number of deer is completely out of control," Eat Wild boss Louisa Clutterbuck told the Times. "So there is no problem at all with supplies."
There are currently said to be more than two million deer, stags and similar game living in Great Britain. In 1972, however, there were only 450,000, as the "Sun" calculates.
According to experts, the current number of 350,000 specimens shot annually is too little, write British media. Approximately twice as many would need to be shot to curb crop damage amounting to several million pounds annually, wildlife accidents and problems with reforestation.
The corona crisis is considered one reason for the recent strong increase in the population: During the lockdowns, many restaurants that serve game were closed. In addition, reports on the British deer problem say that the animals are multiplying more than usual, especially in the current milder winters. The animals also find a lot of food, even in times when supplies were previously scarce, for example in the form of winter grain. In addition, there are no bears, wolves or lynxes in the British Isles that could prey on deer, the British press states.
By the way, she is very impressed by the plan to eat more game and reports quite enthusiastically about it. Industry representatives are also calling for more game meat to be offered in supermarkets again. It would significantly increase demand for deer if the meat was accepted as people's everyday food.
First, however, the youngest meat eaters should get a taste for it. Or, as The Times put it: "Now thousands of nursery children are joining the fight to control Britain's soaring numbers of deer by eating them for lunch."
However, the little ones will probably not be shown any “Bambi” films in the foreseeable future.
Quellen: "The Times", "Daily Mail", The Sun", Eat Wild"
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