Police crack down on poached venison

Lancashire Police are checking butchers’ shops, game dealers and restaurants across the county to ensure that they do not contain – or sell – any poached venison.

More than 80 premises have received letters explaining the regulations of meat sales, and Lancashire Police’s wildlife officer, Mark Thomas, is visiting premises with staff from the Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) to check that larders do not contain any poached meat.

The law is designed to ensure that meat is safe for human consumption and that animals are not subjected to unnecessary suffering during the hunting process.

Thomas said: “Premises should be able to provide a clear paper trail to show where they have sourced their venison from; the idea of these checks is to prevent poachers from offloading their illegally gained meat via the back doors of shops and restaurants.

“If the venison has been obtained illegally, then there is a chance that the deer suffered horrific injuries at the hands of a poacher before it was killed. Poachers do not care about killing an animal humanely and they do not care about the standard of meat they are selling on – which means that there is also a danger to the consumer who ends up eating it.”

“Where poached meat is found to have been bought by vendors hoping to take advantage of the cheaper price of illegal meat, we will be seeking to bring a prosecution against them.”

The move comes as police in East Lancashire issued a warning to poachers after the successful prosecution of two men under the Hunting Act.