The National Velvet Accreditation Scheme (NVAS) is a national deer program allowing the farmer to velvet their own animals. The Scheme has been developed from the state-based programs of WA, Victoria and SA, with the approval of the Veterinary Surgeons’ Board and welfare organizations in each state – and the Australian Veterinary Association.
The Scheme and its’ objectives are closely scrutinized by a group of veterinarians very familiar with the deer farming industry in Australia, with the overall aim being to produce a training program that is consistent and acceptable in all states. In particular there is a clear need to ensure that both the training program itself, which includes the examination/accreditation process and the details it contains of permissible drug usage and animal issues are consistent across the country.
It is accepted that there may be slight variations in the mechanisms by which the Scheme is administered in some states, depending on the opinions and attitudes of Veterinary Surgeons’ Boards. All Boards have expressed their support for such an accreditation process with some variation in how they will oversee the way in which drugs are prescribed.
For example, in NSW the Board has decided to accredit deer farmers itself in successful completion of a training program. The removal of velvet antler is considered to be an act of veterinary surgery in all states. Anyone who is not a veterinary surgeon OR an accredited person would be committing an offence under the various Veterinary Surgeons’ Acts if they harvest velvet antler from a live deer.
Velveting of stags can be performed by an accredited person provided it is done under at least indirect veterinary supervision. To be in possession of the drugs permitted under the Scheme without the prescription of a veterinarian is an offence in all states, abut in NSW such possession is restricted to deer farmers who have successfully completed the NVAS accreditation course and are registered with the Veterinary Surgeons’ Board.
Every accredited deer farmer is required to have a supervising veterinarian.
Dr A. W. English
Camden 5 September 1995
NVAS Course Notes