The recent coverage of ‘cow pooling’ has raised the profile of home killed meat as a viable method for consumers to attain cheaper meat.
Homekill has been a way of life for generations of Kiwi farmers and when conducted responsibly and legally is not of concern.
However, the growth of illegal homekill operators, who do not adhere to recommended strict standards of animal welfare or food safety, raises serious concerns for consumers buying their products.
They may be purchasing a plethora of meat products which, under normal circumstances, would not pass inspection on many fronts.
Abattoirs Association of New Zealand (AANZ) Manager, Fiona Greig, says the Association has been monitoring the issue for over two years.
“The reality of the cow pooling concept is far more complex than it might at first seem. The Abattoirs Association’s biggest concern surrounds the proliferation of illegal, black market operations and we will continue to ensure all known illegal activity is reported to the authorities,” says Greig.
“Those operating on the black market are risking the reputation of the entire industry. If something they do results in someone’s serious illness or untimely death it will not only be the homekill operators who suffer, it will be the licensed Abattoirs as well,” says Greig.
The New Zealand meat industry accounts for 4% of the national GDP and as such the AANZ is lobbying for the establishment and enforcement of stricter laws to protect the industry.
“The message for those considering cow pooling is ‘be very aware’. There is a misconception it is cheaper to kill an animal with a homekill operator as opposed to a licensed abattoir, and this is simply not the case. We would urge all consumers to understand the costs as well as the food safety risks and laws before deciding to start their own syndicate,” says Greig.