Velveting season is now upon us.
Important points to consider this season are:
The old plastic ‘cable tie’ tags are now obsolete and should not be used. Tags that are on frozen sticks of velvet from last season are ok.
The new tags are a wrist-band type self adhesive tag with a barcode and unique number. Velveters should have received their tags from their Supervisory Veterinarian by now – if you have not, please contact your supervisory Veterinarian. When recording the tag number use the barcode number minus the last digit.
The tags are wrapped around the velvet in the same way as the old tags and the ends stuck together. Ensure the tag is not too tight as it can damage the velvet during freezing. Next season’s tags will have a UHF chip in them.
The Regulated Control Scheme (RCS) for velveting means that only properties that are compliant with the regulations (clean room, hygiene standards, suitable freezer etc) can supply velvet for export and only these clients can be issued tags and Velvet Status Declaration forms.
Deer can still be velveted on animal welfare and management grounds on properties that do not meet the standards of the RCS but the velvet will not be tagged and can’t be sold for human food consumption.
The important dates are:
Supervisory visits: These need to be completed by December 15th. Supervisory visits must be done annually and can’t be rolled over.
Return of drugs and record books for reconciliation: This must done by March 31st. No velveting drugs are allowed on farm after this date.
Animal welfare with respect to velveting techniques are actively monitored at the Venison plants and any non-compliance is followed up by MPI . In particular, there have been some issues reported with spikers velveted with NaturO rings. It is vitally important that only Naturo rings are used and that they are applied correctly, and that the velvet is cut above the pedicle/coronet junction. Rings can be left on only if the stags are going direct to slaughter within 72 hours and have not had any drugs. Your Supervisory Veterinarian will cover this at your annual consultation.
Happy velveting and please talk to your vet if you have any concerns or questions.
For more detailed information please see https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/19379-animal-products-notice-regulated-control-scheme-for-deer-velvet-harvest