Just returned from trip to New Zealand.During the trip i got into discussion with a vet who is involved in the deer farming business there. I hadn't realised that apart from raising deer for venison and for bloodlines for improving hunting stock they take velvet from males for sale to the Asian medicine market. I understand that this involves darting the beast and then cutting off the antler above the coronet. By all accounts a messy business but very profitable.He also mentioned that some research is showing that the velvet does have very good healing properties and indue course will probably be used in general medicine.
Does any one know if this is practiced in the UK and what are peoples thoughts on it from an animal welfare and moral point of view. Personally I imagine the beast would feel some pain post op given that there is alot of tissue ,blood and nerves but I am not a vet so happy to be corrected. Secondly the antlers enable the buck to express his rutting behaviour so again there is a welfare issue