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Venison production and consumption in La Réunion Island

Rérolle X., Grimaud P.. 2003. In : Grimaud Patrice (ed.). Les ruminants : élevage et valorisation. Résumés des présentations et posters du symposium régional interdisciplinaire, St-Denis de la Réunion, 10-13 juin 2003. Montpellier : CIRAD, p. 25-25. Symposium régional interdisciplinaire sur les ruminants, élevage et valorisation, 2003-06-10/2003-06-13, Saint-Denis (Réunion).

The rusa deer, Cervus timorensis russa, has become fully acclimatised to the subtropical conditions prevailing in Reunion Island. Fourteen farms are referenced at this date, breeding a stock of some 2 500 hinds. First deer were introduced there during the seventeenth century from Indonesia, by European sailors who wanted to find fresh animal protein on their voyage to India. The first animal husbandry has nevertheless been settled in the 1980's, in the aim to utilise marginal areas, which could not be used by other agriculture. Deer are principally reared on an extensive way, within a correct sanitary environment, and animal productivity is good. Local authorities encouraged the development of smaller intensive farms to diversify animal productions on the island, but the high mortality of newborn fawns involves mediocre economical results of this kind of production. Rural development and applied research institutions are providing support to venison producers, who are now organised in two deer farmers' associations. This support particularly concerns market organisation, pasture management, and pathological survey. On this multiethnic island, all religious populations, contrary to pig and cattle meat, consume venison. Total venison requirements are there estimated to 150 tons per year: local production is about 25 tons, while importation, mainly from Europe and New Zealand, reaches 104 tons. If the local production brings fresh venison on the market at the opposite the importation is composed of frozen venison. Fresh venison can be considered as a festive meat while the importation provides mainly restaurant for venison to be consumed all the year round. Increase in both the animal productivity and the number of deer farms could lead to an increase in the part of local venison production in Reunion Island. Local production shows some difficulties to progress, mainly because of limited place to set up new farms and the shortage of reproductive deer stock. In the same time importation of frozen venison gradually increases every year (+ 57,7% in 2002). (Texte intégral)

Mots-clés : cervidae; production animale; consommation alimentaire; viande de gibier; réunion; france

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