Message Title: Imports
Author: antler333 Posted: 02\21\2005 22:41
I would also thank Grant for posting his comments, as I think NZ farmers and US farmers have more in common, than in opposition.
The farmers here too are at the mercy of the processors and govt regulations which may or may not be helpful to the industry at times. Certainly there are NO subsidies here and in fact there is down right hostility from many branches of govt.
NZ has done a great job of creating an excellent product and opened many doors for venison products. Certainly by NZ leading the way, the US and Canada meat producers can now find markets for products that formerly were not present.
In the past, high animal prices and high production costs (mainly due to winter feeding needs) had kept meat production here limited to culls and breeding duds....conditions not conducive to premium products. But that is now changing as excess animals and creative production and marketing is taking hold.
A large market is undoubtedly present in North America, and the NZ marketing, while opening the door, has not been that successful in penetrating American red meat traditions. It is up to US farmers and marketers to do that by appealling to the way NA citizens think.
Co-operation between NZ and US producers is logical but may not be practical. We each have our own sets of mouths to feed, hence some real points of contention. US venison farmers dont need to export in order to survive, NZ farmers must export to survive, hence a different point of view on what is fair in trade.
Now, At this point, I must contest the premise that a 3/4 elk 1/4 red deer is an ELK for meat purposes. While most assuredly it will be a great product and look almost idential except perhaps a bit smaller.... IT is NOT an "Elk" by North American Standards. Most certainly several of the western states have strict wildlife laws defining what is an elk is, and even the USDA definition is uncompromising. Its defintion of both ELK and Wapiti is one of the four remaining PURE North American subspecies of Cervus Elaphus. Any mixture with a red deer MUST be called a hybrid red deer, and may not be called an ELK, and may even be illegal in some states. Even The word "Wapiti" itself is almost sacred, as it is a native american word for "white rump"....which does not include a red deer. As such, the NA farmer must and will resist any imported product being called an elk if it is NOT an ELK with 100% of its DNA.
Any attempt to call a hybrid an "Elk" under the requisite NA standards, would be dishonest and deceptive to the American consumer who knows what a NA Elk is. Would a 3/4 Bison 1/4 beef cow be a Bison? NO it's a beefalo. Good meat but not a bison (AKA NA Buffalo). The consumer must be informed honestly and NOT deceived by a product grown under different genes, standards and conditions.
That being said, the venison market is plenty big enough for all of us, IF the products are properly labeled and the American consumer is NOT deceived.
Plain and simple it costs more to raise critters in NA due to economics, climate and genes. That premium for pure ELK MEAT genes should only go to those that produce real elk meat. Let the consumer decide which they want by having properly labeled products and being sure that the distribution chain honestly follows those declarations.