Forest of Bowland sourced meals proving a hit with hospital patients

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Wild venison from the Forest of Bowland is proving a hit with patients at Lancashire hospitals.

Patients can choose the locally sourced dish off the menu thanks to a partnership between Forestry England and the East Lancashire Hospital Trust (ELHT).

The organisations have been working together to put more than 600kg of wild venison on the Trust’s menus since April last year - and the catering team’s dishes have become among the

most popular menu items.

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Forest of BowlandForest of Bowland
Forest of Bowland

The team’s venison and winter vegetable pie and Lancashire venison and mash casserole dishes regularly accounted for 33 to 50 percent of patient meal choices in December.

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“As meats go, venison is low in fat and has good nutrients to aid recovery and promote good patient health.

“If you can buy a high quality, sustainable ingredients that has been sourced from within 20 miles, why would you ever consider importing meat?

Venison casserole served up by East Lancashire Hospital TrustVenison casserole served up by East Lancashire Hospital Trust
Venison casserole served up by East Lancashire Hospital Trust

“Working with Forestry England we can get venison sourced straight from the Forest of Bowland so it could not get any more local.”

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Forestry England’s venison is 100 per cent wild, lead-free and from well managed forests.

Deer populations across the UK have skyrocketed in recent years because they have no natural predators. This has resulted in devastating effects on the environment as deer forage on

plants and shrubs that form habitats for other, rarer species, and damage young trees as they grow.

Forestry England, which manages England’s 1,500 forests and woodlands, culls deer as part of its sustainable forest management programme.

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“Encouraging more people to eat wild venison is better for biodiversity and helps protect our future forests”, said Forestry England’s lead wildlife manager Nigel Foster.

“Our main objective for culling is always forest management, rather than wild meat production. With more people becoming aware of the carbon footprint of farmed meat and indeed the

challenges around intensively farmed animals, wild venison is a perfect solution for those wanting to eat less but better meat.”

The Trust serves meals to patients and staff in five hospitals - including Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and Burnley General Teaching Hospital - across the region.

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