Homekill

Homekill is the slaughter and butchering of your farmed animals to be consumed by you, your family and household, any farm workers you employ and their family and household. Learn about the laws controlling homekill.


Homekill meat is eaten at your own risk

Homekill meat is not subject to the same rigorous regulatory controls that apply to meat bought from a supermarket or butcher – homekill meat is eaten at your own risk.

MPI has brochures you can download to help you understand the rules.

Illegal to trade or sell homekill meat

Your homekill meat can only be consumed by you as the animal's owner, your family, your household, and any farm workers employed in an ongoing manner in the farm's daily operations and their family and household.

Homekill can be served on a marae for traditional activities within the iwi or hapū, but if there is any element of trade, commercially processed meat must be used.

You cannot serve homekill meat to paying customers, (for example to guests at bed and breakfasts or lodges), or barter, raffle or donate the meat for use as a prize or as a fundraiser. Homekill cannot be used by schools, universities, hospitals or prisons.

Trade is restricted

You can only trade (sell) the parts of your homekill that are not for human or animal consumption, for example hides, skins, horns or antlers. Waste material like animal fat and carcases can be sold or disposed of to a renderer.

Legal requirements

As an animal owner or a person in charge of an animal, you are legally required to ensure the animals are cared for appropriately, and that you have the facilities to maintain the health and welfare of the animal while it is in your care. If you kill the animal, you are also responsible for ensuring that it is killed in a way that it does not suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.

In the case of cattle and deer, the person in charge of the animal at the time of its slaughter must be registered with the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme and record animal movements and deaths on the NAIT database.

Who can homekill?

You can only homekill an animal you own. You must either:

  • kill it humanely on your own property, or
  • hire a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider to do it for you.

To be eligible to hire a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider, you must have been involved in the day to day maintenance of the animal (or animals of the same kind) for at least 28 days immediately before its slaughter.

Choosing a service provider

When selecting a service provider, it is important that you make your own enquires and satisfy yourself about the quality of the service provided.

This is because while MPI maintains a list of people who can provide homekill or recreational catch services, providers do not need to meet any food safety requirements or undergo MPI checks to be listed. MPI keeps the list only so that MPI can contact service providers if there is an incident or event that needs to be managed and to oversee homekill activities.

For example, there are no requirements regarding:

  • the state of facilities where animals are processed (if any)
  • the use of hygienic techniques
  • cleaning and sanitation of the facilities
  • personnel hygiene or the use of protective clothing
  • water quality
  • refrigeration.

There is also no requirement for animals to have ante or post mortem examinations.

Homekilling an imported animal

If the animal you want to homekill is imported into New Zealand, you have obligations to keep the animal's head so MPI can test it for disease, and to follow restrictions on what you can do with the meat.

Illegal to 'select and slaughter'

It is illegal to 'select and slaughter', where you purchase an animal from a farmer and then have it slaughtered before taking the meat away. It is also illegal for the farmer to let you slaughter the animal on his or her property.

Harsh penalties for breaking the rules

The penalties for breaking homekill rules are significant. The maximum fine is $75,000 for individuals and $300,000 for corporations.

If you can't carry out homekill legally, you can buy an animal and send it to a registered abattoir for killing and processing.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about homekill, email info@mpi.govt.nz.

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