Velvet season audits fast approaching | Issue 179

Jul 7, 2022

The National Velvetting Standards Body (NVSB) and its auditors met in Wellington during the week of 27 June, to discuss the upcoming velvet season and audit process. This year, audits will cover both velvet removal and shed hygiene, so farmers need to make sure that their deer sheds are up to scratch and that they are following the requirements of the NVSB Manual at all times.

“The audit is our key tool for showing regulators that we are a responsible industry, with animal welfare at the heart of what we do,” says DINZ General Manager QA, Rob Gregory. “This means it is important that everyone follows the rules, even if they’ve been velvetting for decades and know the system off by heart.”

Now is a good time to go through the NVSB Manual and check what is required. Things to pay particular attention to include:

  • Applying a tourniquet before using local anaesthetic, to avoid drug residues.
  • Ensuring good drug and needle hygiene.
  • Ensuring that you can correctly reverse sedation if you are certified for chemical restraint. If you have any concerns in this area, please talk to your Supervising Veterinarian.
  • Knowing what contingency responses to use in case something goes wrong.
  • Understanding the diseases of velvet.

When it comes to deer sheds, it is important to make sure that the requirements of the Regulated Control Scheme for Deer Velvet Harvest (RCS) are met. These include clearly identifying the clean zone(s) and product contact surfaces in the shed, making sure these areas are kept clean during velvetting and ensuring that any rips/tears in restraints are properly repaired. In addition, clean zones need to be fully enclosed (ventilation gaps in walls are acceptable) and have a roof or other covering that can be firmly secured, to avoid aerial contamination. Freezers need to be kept clean inside and out when holding velvet, and able to maintain an ambient internal temperature of -15 degrees celcius. Walk-in freezers can be particularly hard to manage, so the NVSB recommends regularly checking the evaporators/radiators for ice and getting them serviced ahead of the season, if needed.

The Regulated Control Scheme for Deer Velvet Harvest document can be downloaded here and more information is also provided in the latest version of the NVSB Manual (2018).


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