budget-conscious Kiwis looking at homekill as a cost-effective way to fill the freezer these holidays are urged to ensure they are doing so within the law.
The law clearly states that homekill can be undertaken by the animal's owner only, says Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) animal products manager Judy Barker. An owner can kill the animal themselves on their own property, or they can hire a listed service provider to slaughter and butcher the animal on their property or the service provider's premises.
"To use a service provider, the owner must have been actively involved in looking after the animal - or animals of the same kind - daily for at least 28 days prior to its slaughter," Barker says.
Homekill can be eaten by the animal's owner and their direct family (grandparents, parents, children) or household.
It is illegal to trade or sell homekill meat.
"Because homekill is not subject to the same rigorous regulatory controls that apply to meat you buy from a supermarket or butcher, people eat it at their own risk.
"There is often an increase in the people seeking homekill from farmers in the lead up to Christmas, but the rules don't allow people to select an animal from a farmer and then immediately have it slaughtered before taking the meat away.
"The farmer cannot let you slaughter the animal at their property either," Barker says.
Wairarapa farmer and MPI employee Naya Brangenberg, who runs a small free-range pork business, says she's had many requests over the years from people asking to buy one of her animals to kill at her place.
"It's easy to explain that what they're asking for is illegal - and what's more, I neither have the facilities to do the kill humanely on our property nor the proper food-safety protocols in place," Naya says.
"In fact, most people know what they're asking is technically illegal so once they realise you're not interested they pretty quickly move on."
Although Naya doesn't sell her animals for people to take home and slaughter either, she thinks homekill is wonderful.
"When done properly, homekill is very humane."
People who want to shave some cost off their Christmas food bill, but realise they're not able to meet the requirements for legally carrying out homekill, can opt to buy an animal from a farmer and immediately have it sent to a registered abattoir for slaughter.
For more about homekill or for abattoir contacts go to: www.foodsmart.govt.nz/food-safety/hunting-collecting-fishing/homekill