Homekill and recreational catch requirements for hunters, fishers, and animal owners

Find what rules you need to follow if you consume or use homekill or recreational catch meat or game.

GUIDE TO HOMEKILL AND RECREATIONAL CATCH

If you want to consume or use homekill or recreational catch, there are requirements and restrictions that you need to comply with. These apply to hunters, fishers, animal owners, and service providers.

Find out more

A guide to homekill and recreational catch [PDF, 4.3 MB]

Requirements for homekill and recreational catch service providers

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.

The rules around homekill that apply to animal owners are summarised in our pamphlet.

Homekill pamphlet [PDF, 2 MB]

What is recreational catch?

Recreational catch involves killing, capturing, taking, or harvesting a wild animal and then processing it. These activities are considered recreational catch when the hunter, fisher, or other person intends to use or consume the wild animal themselves.

What's allowed for recreational catch?

If you've hunted, caught, or harvested an animal as recreational catch, you can kill and process the animal yourself:

  • on your own property
  • at or near the place where the animal was hunted or harvested.

Or you can have the animal killed or processed by a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider:

  • on your own property
  • on the service provider's premises or place
  • at or near the place where the animal was hunted or harvested.

Recreational catch product for human or animal consumption:

  • must not be sold or traded
  • must only be for the use or consumption of the catcher or hunter. This can include members of their party, family, or household.

Customary catch

Customary catch, authorised by the Fisheries Act 1996, is to be treated as recreational catch, and therefore must comply with the requirements of this section – as long as it is used for the purposes for which the catch was authorised.

Legislation that applies to homekill and recreational catch

Homekill and recreational catch are covered under Parts 6 and 10 of the Animal Products Act 1999.

Animal Products Act 1999 – NZ Legislation

Food safety risks associated with homekill and recreational catch

Homekill and recreational catch product (such as meat) is considered unregulated, and therefore must not be sold or traded. This is because the product hasn't been subject to any:

  • hygiene or processing standards or controls, or
  • assessment, such as ante-mortem or post-mortem inspection.

For these reasons, no assurances can be given on its fitness for consumption, and people who use or consume it do so at their own risk.

Note: If an animal owner chooses to have their animals slaughtered in premises managed under the regulated system (for example, in a registered abattoir), the resulting product would be regulated. However, if that product is further processed by a homekill or recreational catch service provider, the product would then become non-regulated, and could not be traded.

Homekill and recreational catch must not be sold or traded

Because homekill and recreational catch product is non-regulated product, it can't move into the regulated system. This means homekill and recreational catch product for human or animal consumption must not be sold or traded.

The definition of "trade" in Section 4 of the Animal Products Act includes barter, supply as part of a service, public prize, and reward.

Animal Products Act 1999, Section 4 – NZ Legislation

The penalties for breaking the rules banning trade in homekill and recreational catch are significant. The maximum fine is $75,000 for individuals, and $300,000 for corporations.

Animal parts that may be sold or traded

Any parts of your recreational catch that are not for human or animal consumption may be sold or traded. This includes hides, skins, horns and antlers.

If you sell or trade any of these, you must keep records of the:

  • animal species
  • dates of the transactions
  • name of the purchaser.

Waste material such as fat, offal and bone should be disposed of responsibly. This may be sold, traded, or disposed of to a renderer.

Select and slaughter is illegal

“Select and slaughter” is a term used for the practice when people purchase live animals and then slaughter them, or have them slaughtered, for the ultimate purpose of purchasing meat other than through the regulated system.

Select and slaughter is considered trading of homekill, and is illegal. It carries a maximum fine of $75,000 for an individual, and $300,000 for a body corporate. Both the person "selecting" (buying) the animal, and the person providing the facilities for the slaughter, may be charged and fined.

Find out more about select and slaughter in our guide.

A guide to homekill and recreational catch [PDF, 4.3 MB]

Humane killing

The Animal Products Act 1999 allows anyone to kill an animal in any location if this is necessary for humane reasons. For example, you may need to kill an animal at the roadside if it is badly injured as a result of an accident.

If this happens, you can treat the resulting product as homekill. Refer to our homekill and recreational catch guide to find out more.

Registration with NAIT

Anyone in charge of cattle or deer must register them in the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system. If any of these animals are taken off your farm to a service provider's property for slaughter, you must record animal movements and deaths in the NAIT database.

Find out more about NAIT

Homekill and recreational catch service providers

Homekill and recreational catch service providers provide slaughter and/or processing services to:

  • animal owners – for homekill
  • hunters, fishers, or other harvesters – for recreational catch.

Their services include the dressing and butchering of killed animals.

Find out about the requirements for homekill and recreational catch service providers

Who to contact

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

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