The unregulated meat trade is definitely on the increase, posing a food safety risk to the New Zealand public and potentially damaging our international trade reputation.
The Abattoirs Association of New Zealand agrees with the Federated Farmers Rural Butchers that there is a lack of enforcement placed on backyard butchers and the home kill industry.
President of the Abattoir Association of New Zealand, Lyndon Everton, firmly believes that the black market meat trade is alive and thriving. Since amendments to the Animal Product Act came into effect in 1999, the registration of home kill operators has increased from 79 to 384.
“It staggers me the governing authorities allow any meat to be slaughtered outside a purpose built processing facility when the New Zealand meat industry is worth $6.4 billion in export revenue and 4% of the national GDP.”
“Home kill operators, licensed or not, do not pay levies, including those for tuberculosis eradication. We estimate that the home kill and backyard butchers process over half a million sheep, cattle and pigs every year. In levies alone, this amounts to over $2 million a year being lost,” Everton says.
The real issue isn’t whether or not there have been more complaints to NZFSA in regard to home killed meat but that no one actually knows definitively the numbers involved as there is no regulation and no data collected from the home kill industry.
Everton shares the concern raised by Federated Farmers that the Animal Products Act is not being enforced. Under this Act, home kill is allowed but only for the consumption of the animal’s owner who must have owned the animal for the past 28 days. “We are well aware that this law is being breached on a daily basis. A lot of people are breaking the law as they are either ignorant of it, or choose to ignore it, knowing there is no one out there enforcing it.”
“The Abattoirs Association of New Zealand members all have licensed premises where animals are humanely handled and only produce meat suitable for human consumption, which is stamped and certified by an independent inspector. This is all done by strict regulatory authorities who ensure the operators are compliant within national and international codes.”
The Abattoirs Association of New Zealand would like to see the Government take action by measuring home kill activity and ensuring all operators are audited for compliance in food safety, humane slaughter practices and traceability. This is not only for the protection of the New Zealand consumer, but also for the reputation of our international trade.