The information below provides only short answers to the questions posed and should not be used as legal advice. More information is available on the Internet from NZ Food Safety Authority
Why do we have homekill regulations?
Meat sold in NZ and exported from NZ is subject to a number of standards under the Animal Products Act, which ensures that the meat is fit for human consumption.
Farmers and other livestock owners often want to kill and eat their own livestock. As this homekilled meat is not subject to any standards, no guarantee can be given as to its fitness for human consumption.
Therefore, homekill regulations are designed to prevent potentially unwholesome meat from being marketed.
What is homekill?
Homekill is the slaughtering and butchering of your own animal, either by yourself or by a listed homekill and recreational catch service provider, for your own use and consumption.
It also includes the use and consumption of your family and household. The inclusion of the word 'use' means that animal owners can feed homekill meat to their animals.
Those who use or consume homekill do so at their own risk.
What is not homekill?
Any meat from animals that are slaughtered and processed in the regulated system, e.g. by a licensed abattoir, including regulated mobile premises, is not homekill meat. Meat from the regulated system is called regulated meat.
What is a family?
A family is anyone who can claim direct family lineage eg children, parents, grandparents. It does not include extended family living elsewhere.
What is a household?
A household is defined as the occupants of a house or similar, regarded as a unit. This does not include institutions.
Can homekill meat be traded?
No. Homekill meat can not be traded under any circumstances. Only regulated meat can be traded. Homekill meat is not regulated. The definition of trade under the Animal Products Act means to sell for human or animal consumption and includes, among other things, bartering, supplying as part of a contract, supplying as part of a charge for another good or service, and using for advertisement, prize or fundraising.
However, homekill products that are not for human or animal consumption, such as hides and skins, may be traded.
Do those who provide homekill services have to be listed with MAF?
Yes. Anyone who provides services such as the slaughtering, butchering, dressing and packing of animals for farmers (or owners of stock) and hunters must be listed with MAF as a homekill and recreational catch service provider. It is an offence to provide such services, for reward, when not a listed homekill and recreational catch service provider.
Who can use homekill and recreational catch service providers?
Only animal owners who are actively engaged in the day-day maintenance of an animal, or other animals of the same kind, for a period of at least 28 days immediately preceding the date of the homekilling of the animal may use homekill and recreational catch service providers to kill and/or process that animal.
The policy of a 28-day limit is based on a reasonable time period to ensure that the health and welfare of an animal can be cared for. A 28-day period also allows for the passing of the more common animal remedy withholding periods operating in New Zealand, which a prudent person familiar with that possibility would provide for.
Can anyone buy an animal from me on the understanding that I will kill it for his or her own use right away?
No, this is effectively providing for trade in homekill animal product, which is illegal. You would also be illegally acting as a homekill and recreational catch service provider and providing homekill services to an animal owner who has not been involved in the day-to-day maintenance of that animal, which is also an offence.
What are dual operator butchers?
Dual operator butchers are retail butchers who process both homekill meat and regulated meat on the same premises. They are not allowed to slaughter animals on any premises where regulated meat is processed or traded. Homekill meat must be kept separate from regulated meat and must not enter either the domestic or export market. Dual operator butchers must be listed with MAF as homekill and recreational catch service providers.
Can you feed homekill meat to your staff?
Yes. But they must be to employees who are regularly employed in the farm's daily operations. These employees can feed it to their families. Note the employment must be continuous, and does not include casual workers like shearers, or contractors. Neither does in include your veterinarian, accountant or banker.
Can you feed your homekill meat to visitors?
Yes. You can feed homekill meat to visitors as long as it is not an exchange for other goods or services.
Can you barter homekill meat with friends, neighbours?
No. Barter constitutes trade.
Can you raffle homekill meat or provide it as a prize for a raffle?
No. You can not raffle homekill meat or use it for promotional purposes. These activities constitute trade.
Can you feed homekill meat to paying guests?
No. Those who supply a meal as part of an accommodation, recreational or tourist package including homestays, hunting lodges, marae visits, or tourist barbecues, cannot use homekill or recreational catch product as part of the food provided to their customers. Paying guests also include those who pay board, fees or other forms of payment as part of an accommodation package.
The only exception from this prohibition is that a restaurant, hunting lodge etc may serve as a meal to the hunter/catcher and members of the hunter/catcher's party, the game or fish that the particular individual or their party have killed or caught. This game or fish must not be served to other guests.
What about meat for ethnic and religious groups?
Individual animal owners belonging to a particular group may consume their own homekill animal, but they cannot supply or distribute this product to a wider group. Only meat that is from the regulated system, e.g. from a licensed abattoir, can be traded. No place, including churches, mosques and other religious or ethnic group gathering places, can be used as a distribution point for homekill meat.
What about marae?
Those running functions at marae need to decide whether their function is traditional/cultural or commercial or social. Whatever it is, no trading of homekill meat is legal. For guidance:
- In the traditional context (e.g. activities within the iwi or hapu, including hui, tangihanga and unveilings), the assumption is that there is no element of trading. Homekill meat can be used.
- In the commercial context (including hui held for other organisations) it is assumed that money will have changed hands, albeit in the form of a koha - IRD policy on GST and taxation of koha can provide guidance on what is a 'commercial' activity. Meat supplied for commercial activity must be from the regulated system, i.e. abattoir or retail outlet, and not homekill.
- In the social context, there is a mix of situations and each would need to be considered by marae members on its merits. Generally, if money changes hands homekill meat should not be used even if the participants are aware that homekill is being offered.
Marae cannot be used as a distribution point for homekill or recreational catch.
What if I ignore the regulations?
You could be fined up to a maximum of $75,000 as an individual or $300,000 if a corporate body.