Government intrusions are causing "anxiety and confusion" for deer farmers, a sector head says.
Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) board chairman Ian Walker, in a speech at the Deer Industry Conference in Invercargill last week, said a major challenge facing the industry was the "changing public expectations of water quality, animal welfare and greenhouse gas emissions from farming".
"These are driving government intrusions into farmers' lives, creating anxiety, confusion and at times the sense the contribution we make to the economy and the environment is not valued by our fellow Kiwis."
DINZ was working with other farming sector groups to ensure any proposed regulations aimed at reducing the sector's environmental footprint could be achieved.
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New regulations must be "practical and affordable and not overwhelm farmers with compliance paperwork".
DINZ chief executive Innes Moffat said the deer industry had been "a leader in environmental stewardship" for more than 20 years.
The industry had "nothing to apologise for" and could be proud of its high standards in practices, including winter grazing and velvet removal.
He urged farmers to use social media to show how the industry is "looking after our land, our water, our animals and our people".
Farmers must "be prepared", he said.
"Some people don't think that humans should use animals for commercial purposes. Some people don't think we should even keep animals. Some people don't like mud -there's not many of them but they can be vocal."