Big game to roam West Country?

Big game management, wild cattle roaming the countryside, and ranching, were held up as possible future scenarios for the food and farming industries in the South West by the director of the Centre for Rural Research at Exeter University

, Professor Michael Winter.

Prof. Winter was contemplating the possible emergence of a four-fold division of the red meat industry that would ultimately be much smaller in size.

He said the four divisions might be:

1) A few large, intensive units probably on the best land. These would have the necessary economies of scale and professionalism to deal with regulations, fussy consumers and world markets.

2) A few niche producers with farms appearing as scattered remnants of an earlier farming era. Such producers would concentrate on organic, local, animal friendly, and environmentally sensitive enterprises.

3) Hobby and residential farmers who would keep some stock just as 'mowing machines'.

4) More woodland and scrub on the uplands and in marginal areas. It was here that Prof. Winter envisaged the setting up of big game enterprises.

A possibility future scenario? "Or, there again, perhaps these are just eccentric musings from the ivory tower of academia" Prof. Winter concluded.

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