Sustainable meat survey & questionnaire

Mar 19, 2024

By Josine Atsma

I am a WWOOF host and also study towards a degree in Natural Sciences at the Open University. For my studies I’m doing a research project into the sustainability of wild venison versus Scottish lamb. My project is focused on Scotland only (mainly because of NatureScot which has a deer census) and I am looking for information on sheep farming and/or deer stalking.

There has been a lot of talk in the media about reducing meat consumption claiming that all meat is bad for the planet. As a passionate believer in sustainability I disagree with the statement that ‘all meat is bad’, because it isn’t. Wild venison and locally raised lamb are very sustainable types of meat and is what we should be eating instead of highly processed meats.

Deer prevent woodland regeneration and are considered to be a pest in Scotland. Because there is no natural predator, we have to act like one and the Scottish government actively encourages the culling of deer to reduce numbers.
Large parts of Scotland and Wales are considered to be ‘Less Favoured Areas’ where making a living out of farming is difficult because of the landscape and/or weather conditions. These areas are often not suitable for growing crops, but sheep are adapted to living in these conditions. Meat from wild deer or sheep is therefore a healthy and very sustainable source of protein, a building block important for good health.

My Natural Sciences degree includes a project where I am comparing sustainability of wild venison and British lamb. To do this I want to look at feed requirements versus edible yield (meat used for human consumption), but I need some help gathering data. Although I am a WWOOF host, I don’t have livestock (just a small flock of chickens, also a sustainable source of meat) so I have prepared a very short questionnaire (just 8 questions) about weight, feed requirements and yield. I am focusing on meat sold to the public, so not for own consumption.

Would you be willing to fill in the questionnaire to help me with my studies?

There are two different questionnaires: one is for red deer only and the other is for sheep only. If you farm/hunt both red deer and sheep for selling, you can fill in both questionnaires.

The questionnaires consist of only 8 questions; the first three questions are general questions to give me an idea of the setting. The next questions are about the amount of feed used and weight of animal and meat yielded and these answers are used for my statistical test. The sheep questionnaire is slightly longer because of differentiating between sheep and lamb. The last question is about your occupation and is optional. Please add units to your answers like kg, lbs or hectare and if the exact amount is unknown, you can fill in 20 – 30 kg for example. All answers are completely anonymous and only me and my tutor see the results and report.

The deadline is 14th April 2024 for me to be able to analyse everything.

Link to sheep questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9J9FSBD

Link to deer questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V29PN3W

I would like to thank all of you who took part in advance and please feel free to share the links with other farmers, crofters or shooting estates who may be willing to participate. If there are any queries you can email me at: contact@josinedeboer.com

Photos: Josine Atsma

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