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In the UK, venison is one of the most sustainable meats you can buy and can be ethically sourced with relative ease.

Although the word once meant the meat obtained from any edible game, it is more usually associated with deer. Once considered to be the preserve of the rich, it is now readily available at affordable prices for all to enjoy.

Eating UK-produced venison sourced from wild deer is a key way individuals can support Britain’s sustainable deer populations through humane deer management.

Venison A Sustainable Choice

There are probably more deer in the UK now than there have been for the past 1,000 years and these populations need to be managed to keep numbers in balance with the environment.

There are currently concerns that too many wild deer will negatively affect work to increase biodiversity and impact efforts to plant more trees. Therefore, making sure deer are at sustainable levels is important in the battle to fight climate change.

Venison is a natural product of sustainable deer management and the meat produced follows strict standards in both humane practices and food production. In addition, venison is also produced in the UK from farmed deer.

The UK has extremely high standards in relation to deer management and food safety, as well as legal protections which ensures that our deer are humanely culled. All venison must meet rigorous handling and processing requirements before it is allowed to be passed on to the consumer.

Consumers can be confident that, whether it comes from managed wild populations or farms, it is a highly sustainable and ethical source of meat.

venison a sustainable choice

A Healthy Choice

Venison A Healthy Choice

Venison is a great source of protein and is incredibly low in fat, containing less fat than skinless chicken. Deer will naturally graze on a variety of vegetation rather than high energy cereals or other concentrated feeds, so the meat is lower is saturated fats but higher in the more beneficial, unsaturated fats.

It also contains minerals that are good for our health, including iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, as well as vitamins B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. It is often praised as one of the healthiest meats on the market, having fewer calories and less cholesterol than most farmed meats. It is also especially rich in omega-3 and has a closer ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.

In the past, consumers may have been concerned about traces of lead in shot game. They need not be, as suppliers now take particular care to ensure that no meat contains lead. Indeed, many now only sell venison shot with alternatives to lead. If you have any concerns, a talk with your venison supplier will provide reassurance.

Where to Buy

We strongly recommend buying from a trustworthy source. This might include game dealers, butchers, local estates, farm shops, online suppliers and even local stalkers who have appropriate licencing to add venison to the food chain.

While the major supermarkets may sometimes carry venison on their shelves, some may originate from outside the UK and will come with a higher carbon footprint. The country of origin should be reflected clearly on any packaging.

We recommend that you find a trusted and reputable supplier to ensure sustainability and food standards and ensure you are not supporting any form of wildlife crime, including poaching. Meat which has not been supplied through properly regulated sources may not have been subjected to the same rigorously quality control of legally sourced venison.

What to Try First

Venison can be substituted for other red meats in a wide variety of dishes, though it is important to remember that it is a lean meat which can dry out if overcooked. Prime cuts make a special meal and there is no shortage of recipes available.

If you are new to venison, you might want to try it first in the form of sausages or burgers. You can also buy it minced for use in recipes such as chilli, spaghetti bolognese or shepherd’s pie.

Many newcomers are surprised by how ‘ungamey’ and subtle the taste is. The flavour can differ between deer species and at what time of year the deer was culled. Contrary to popular myth, meat from older animals will not necessarily be tough.

We encourage more people to make the switch and try adding venison to your diet. We are confident that you will be glad you did.

Cooking With Venison

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