Homekilled meat: rules and food safety
Learn about the laws controlling homekilled meat
On this page:
- Food safety risks with homekill meat
- Who can homekill
- Who can eat homekill
- Illegal to trade or sell homekill meat
- Illegal to "select and slaughter"
- Trading hides, skins, horns, and other animal parts
- Choosing a homekill service provider
- Animal welfare requirements
- NAIT and animal tracing requirements
- Feeding offal to dogs
What is homekill?
Homekill is the slaughtering and butchering of your farmed animals for your own use and consumption. This may be done by you, or by a listed service provider. It's illegal to sell or trade homekill meat.
Meat that's sold commercially (like in supermarkets) follows strict requirements to ensure it's safe to eat. Homekilled meat is not checked in the same way. This means it could be unsafe to eat. It is eaten at your own risk.
Like all meat, you need to handle, store, and cook it safely.
Homekill slaughtering can be done by either:
- the animal owner on their own property
- a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider that the owner hires.
You can only hire a service provider if you were involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the animal (or animals of the same kind) for at least 28 days right before its slaughter.
Homekill can be eaten by:
- the animal owner
- the direct family or household of the animal owner
- farmworkers employed in a farm's daily operations
- the farmworkers' families and households.
- serve homekill meat to paying customers (for example, to guests at bed and breakfasts or lodges)
- trade or barter homekill meat
- raffle or donate the meat for use as a prize or as a fundraiser.
Homekill meat cannot be used by schools, universities, hospitals, or prisons.
"Select and slaughter" is when you buy an animal from a farmer and then have it slaughtered for the meat. It's also illegal for the farmer to let you slaughter the animal on their property.
You can only trade (sell) parts of your homekilled animal that are not for eating (by either people or animals). For example:
Waste material like animal fat and carcasses can be sold or given to a renderer.
Using a registered abattoir
You can send an animal to a registered abattoir for killing and processing. In this case, it is not homekill.
Harsh penalties for breaking the rules
The maximum fine is:
- $75,000 for individuals
- $300,000 for corporations.
When you select a service provider, make sure you get enough information about the quality of the service provided. This is because homekill service providers do not need to meet any requirements for:
- the state of facilities where animals are processed (if any)
- the use of hygiene techniques, cleaning, and sanitation
- staff hygiene or the use of protective clothing
- water quality
- ante-mortem or post-mortem animal examinations.
If you kill the animal, you are responsible for ensuring that it does not suffer unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress.
For 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
- record animal movements and deaths in the NAIT database.
Treat offal from homekilled livestock before you feed it to dogs. You need to do this to stop the spread of hydatid parasites. Livestock includes sheep, pigs, and cattle. Also ensure that dogs can't reach or eat raw offal when you dispose of dead animals.
How to treat the offal
To kill the parasite, you can either:
- boil it for at least 30 minutes, or
- freeze it to minus 10⁰C (or colder) for at least 10 days.
Find out more
Fact sheet: Homekill [PDF, 2 MB]
Fact sheet: Homekill for animal owners – the basics [PDF, 441 KB]
A guide to homekill and recreational catch [PDF, 4.3 MB]
Who to contact
If you have questions about homekilling, email firstname.lastname@example.org