News

Chemically castrated squirrels and deer culled to feed prisoners: How ministers are targeting animals in their latest net zero plan to protect trees


  • England’s deer population is larger than it’s ever been over the last 1,000 years  

Squirrels will be chemically castrated while deer will be culled, cooked and served to prisoners or those in hospital under new net zero plans to protect England’s forests.

The Government is considering a range of different measures to curb the spread of deer and squirrel populations across the country in a bid to protect trees and help native species thrive. 

England’s deer population is larger than it’s been for the last 1,000 years and in turn is destroying the nation’s woodland.

Meanwhile, grey squirrels are said to cost the economy £37million in negative impacts to trees each year, having harmful effects on trees and the red squirrel populations that have been dwindling for years.

 The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is set to publish its new guidance on how to tackle both issues soon.

Deer will be culled, cooked and served to prisoners or those in hospital under new net zero plans to protect England's forests. Pictured: Deer in Derbyshire in December

Deer will be culled, cooked and served to prisoners or those in hospital under new net zero plans to protect England’s forests. Pictured: Deer in Derbyshire in December 

Grey squirrels are said to cost the economy £37million each year, having harmful effects on trees and the red squirrel populations that have been dwindling for years. Pictured: A pair of grey squirrels in Liverpool

Grey squirrels are said to cost the economy £37million each year, having harmful effects on trees and the red squirrel populations that have been dwindling for years. Pictured: A pair of grey squirrels in Liverpool 

Venison from culled deer could be served to prisoners, those in hospital and members of the armed forces. Pictured: A general view of Wakefield men's prion

Venison from culled deer could be served to prisoners, those in hospital and members of the armed forces. Pictured: A general view of Wakefield men’s prion 

According to the Telegraph, control measures include culling deer and serving the venison meat to those in prisons as well as people in hospital or members of the Armed Forces. 

Contraceptive drugs could be put in grey squirrel feed to sterilize the population or gene editing technology may be implemented to limit grey squirrels to only giving birth to one sex to stop the breed reproducing. 

It is hoped that the plans will help boost red squirrel population and help the Government reach its target to have 16.5 per cent of England under tree cover by 2050. 

A source told the paper that Defra’s guidance was set to be released last summer but was delayed as a result of ‘frustrating’ delays at a ministerial leave. 

Ministers have been pushing the public to eat more venison rather than beef or chicken after declaring it’s one the most sustainable and healthy meats.

It is hoped that the plans will help boost red squirrel population and help the Government reach its target to have 16.5 per cent of England under tree cover by 2050. Pictured: File photo of red squirrel

It is hoped that the plans will help boost red squirrel population and help the Government reach its target to have 16.5 per cent of England under tree cover by 2050. Pictured: File photo of red squirrel 

The Government is reportedly supporting the Country Food Trust, which last year called for venison to be supplied more frequently at restaurants or to help alleviate those using food banks. 

Forestry England has already paired up with East Lancashire Hospital Trust to introduce more venison based meals.

So far more than 1,000kg of wild venison has been served since April 2021, with dishes including winter vegetable pie served with Lancashire Venison and mash Casserole dishes. 

Other options are said to include exploring CRISPR gene editing technology that alters reproductive cycles to ensure only one sex can be red.

MailOnline has contacted Defra for a statement.  





Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button