Homekill and recreational catch meat or game

How to make sure you're following the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999 if you consume, use, slaughter, or process homekill or recreational catch meat or game in New Zealand.

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 requirements pertain to hunters, fishers, animal owners, and service providers. For a full explanation, see this guide:

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What is homekill?

Homekill is the slaughtering and butchering of your own animal - either by yourself or by a listed homekill and recreational catch service provider - for your own use and consumption. Homekill meat must not be traded. Homekill is covered under Part 6 and Part 10 of the APA.

These pamphlets outline the rules that apply to both the animal owner and any homekill or recreational catch service provider they might employ to slaughter and butcher their animal:

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, fisherman, or other person intends to use or consume the wild animal themselves.

Recreational catch cannot be traded for human or animal consumption. Those who use or consume recreational catch product do so at their own risk. Recreational catch meat has not been subject to any hygiene or processing standards or control, or any assessment – for example, ante- or post-mortem inspection. Therefore, no assurances can be given on its fitness for consumption.

What is allowed for recreational catch?

The basic policy for recreational catch activity is set out in section 68 of the Animal Products Act 1999:

  • A person who has hunted or harvested an animal as recreational catch is able to kill and process the animal themselves on their own property or at or near the place where the animal was hunted or harvested.
  • The hunter or harvester may have the animal killed or processed by a listed homekill or recreational catch service provider, on the service provider's premises or place or on the catcher's property or at or near the place where the animal was hunted or harvested. 
  • Recreational catch product must be for the use or consumption of the catcher/hunter (including members of the catcher's party or family or household), and not for trade (see section 4 of the Act for the definition of 'trade': it includes barter, supply as part of a service, public prize, or reward etc). 
  • The parts of the recreational catch product that are not for human or animal consumption (such as the trophies, hide, and skin) may be traded, and the waste material can be sold or disposed of to a renderer.

For the purposes of the Animal Products Act, customary catch that is authorised under the Fisheries Act 1996 is to be treated as recreational catch that complies with the requirements of this section, so long as it is used for the purposes for which such catch is authorised.

Role of a service provider

Homekill and recreational catch service providers are those who provide slaughter and/or processing services for reward either (1) to animal owners for homekill or (2) to hunters, fishers, or other harvesters for recreational catch. Processing services include the dressing and butchering of recreational catch. Service providers must not trade any homekill or recreational catch meat.

If you are a homekill or recreational catch service provider, you must comply with the Animal Products Act (APA) 1999. As part of this, you need to

  • be listed with MPI as a homekill and recreational catch service provider
  • keep appropriate inventory records.

Find out more about keeping records

You need to be familiar with all your legal obligations under Part 6 of the APA and the offence provisions under Part 10 of the APA. Service providers need to be aware of the following:

  • Service providers are able to provide their services at their own premises or property, at the animal owner or recreational hunter’s property, and – in the case of recreational catch – at or near the place where the animal was hunted or harvested.
  • It is illegal for a service provider to provide homekill slaughter or processing services for an animal owner who has not been involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the animal (or animals of the same kind) for at least 28 days prior to its slaughter.
  • The service provider must return homekill or recreational catch product for human or animal consumption to the animal owner or recreational hunter it came from.
  • Service providers may not trade any homekill or recreational catch product for human or animal consumption. Only parts of the animal that are not for human or animal consumption, such as hides and skins, may be traded. Offal and fat waste may be sold or disposed of to a rendering operation.
Listing with MPI as a service provider

All homekill and recreational catch service providers, including dual operator butchers (DOBs), must be listed with MPI.

Use the AP2 application form to apply to be listed as a homekill recreational catch service provider. It is your responsibility to renew your listing each year if you are undertaking homekill or recreational catch services for reward.

Download AP2 – Homekill and recreational catch service provider listing:

Once listed, your details are maintained on MPI’s public listing of all New Zealand homekill and recreational catch service providers.

Exemption from listing

If you perform any of the following tasks, and it is the only service you provide in relation to homekill and recreational catch, you are exempt from the need to be listed as a service provider.

  • Transporting homekill or recreational catch
  • Performing taxidermy
  • Heading, gutting, or filleting of fish on recreational charter vessels.

Find out more about exemptions:

Keeping inventory records

Under the Animal Products Act, all service providers need to keep records and have a system to identify animal material and animal products. Refer to the following notice for the full requirements:

You can choose to use the following forms to keep your records, or you can develop your own. 

Read some tips on how to complete these forms:

Select and slaughter is prohibited

Some homekill operations have involved a person (client) selecting an animal from a farmer, and then having the farmer immediately slaughter the animal for the person to take away, or providing the facility and equipment for the person to slaughter the animal at the farmer’s place.

Such 'select and slaughter' activity amounts to trading homekill product and is prohibited. This type of activity carries a maximum fine of $300,000 for a body corporate and $75,000 for an individual. Under this offence provision, both the person buying/'selecting' the animal and the person providing the facilities for the 'slaughter' are able to be charged.

At the heart of this prohibition is the policy intention that those persons who are animal owners can kill and process their own animals only on their own property, or use the services of a homekill and recreational catch service provider only if they have been engaged in the day-to-day management of the animal, or other animals of the same kind, for a period of at least 28 days.

Homekill and recreational catch is non-regulated meat

Homekill and recreational catch product that is for human or animal consumption is non-regulated product and cannot move into the regulated system. It cannot be traded under any circumstances.

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

Humane killing

If an animal must be killed for humane reasons at a location other than the animal owner’s own property or a listed service provider’s premises or place, or by a person other than the owner or a listed service provider, that may still be treated as homekill.

As a service provider, if you kill an animal for humane reasons – for example, after an accident – you must record the following:

  • date
  • location
  • reason for slaughter
  • distribution of the animal material
  • name and address of the animal owner (if known).
Registration with NAIT

Anyone in charge of cattle or deer must register them in the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) system. In cases where animals are taken off an owner’s farm to the service provider’s property for slaughter, you must record animal movements and deaths in the NAIT database.

Trading in hides and skins

If you sell hides and skins, you must keep separate records of the animal species, the dates of the transactions, and the name of the purchaser of the hides and skins.

Dual operator butchers (DOBs)

If you process homekill or recreational catch at the same premises or place as a retail butchery, you are classified as a DOB.

Homekill and recreational catch - Q&A

Read a selection of common questions and answers relating to homekill and recreational catch:

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