Wiltshire vet rescues game exports to the European Union

A Wiltshire vet has managed to claw back the continental game meat market, teetering on collapse, due to paperwork issues experienced by game shipments on their way to the EU.

Since the 1st January 2021, and the UK’s exit from the EU, the game meat sector has been hit by a paperwork fiasco that has left many concerned about the future of game meat exports to the continent. Game dealers were able to export wild venison and game birds to their European markets but as the transition happened it became obvious that is was becoming virtually impossible to get the product over to the continent.

The problem centers on the wording on the health certificate paperwork that the EU insist accompanies the product from the Approved Game Meat Handling Establishment (AGHE) through to its final destination in the EU. Initially, the EU would only issue the paperwork for air freight meaning that any shipment of game that left the UK by road would be turned away at the border of the EU, almost all of the game shipped to the continent goes via road, so the air freight paperwork was wholly unsuitable.

However, thanks to the tenacity of gamebird vet Rita Alves, DVM MRCVS from Daltons Game Consultancy based in Amesbury, Wiltshire, working closely with Stephen Crouch, chairman of the National Game Dealers Association they seem to have made serious headway.

Stephen, who is also managing director of Hampshire Game, has been working with Rita to secure the transport of wild game meat products to the EU via the traditional road transport route. Rita has been liaising with transport companies in Holland as well as the Dutch transport ministry on behalf of all those who export wild game meat to the EU and has now established the correct paperwork that is required to continue to ship our first-class products to the continent.

Gamekeepers and shoot owners will now be able to keep the continental market for game that is produced every autumn and winter, and AGHE’s will be able to continue to supply their existing markets.

With COVID-19 putting an end to driven shooting, this January has given the AGHE’s a bit of breathing space to get to grips with the new paperwork required and, thanks to Rita, this transition has not been as harmful as it could have been had the full shooting programme happened this January. Hampshire Game are shipping via road to the EU on 22nd January and this will be the acid test to see if the paperwork really is correct. Stephen Crouch, said: “Rita must be congratulated for her success on resolving this issue. The whole sector will benefit and is indebted to Rita for getting to grips with what was required. We want to get our products back to our hard-won markets in the EU. Although we have a growing market here in the UK, our European cousins still consume a great deal of game and the market is an important outlet of all of us.”

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