Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Investigators today executed search warrants at three premises in Taranaki believed to be involved in the slaughter, processing and sale of unregulated goat meat.
Officials visited two New Plymouth residences and one commercial retailer. Documents and cash that appeared to be related to the illegal sale of meat were found at one of the residences.
For several months MPI has been investigating the supply and sale of wild goat meat to consumers in Taranaki, says Ross Thurston, MPI Regional Compliance Manager, Central Region.
“Our investigators found that wild goats were being rounded up from various places around Taranaki and were being brought back to a private residential property,” says Mr Thurston.
“MPI has evidence that the animals were slaughtered and processed on that property and that the slaughtered meat was taken away in the boots of private vehicles.
“On one occasion, investigators saw five freshly slaughtered and processed goat carcasses being placed in the boot of a private vehicle and driven out of Taranaki.”
It is unknown if any illegally killed and processed meat has been consumed by the public.
The sale of animal products for human or animal consumption is subject to strict rules to ensure animals are slaughtered humanely and that the resulting meat product is safe for consumption, says Mr Thurston.
“Rogue operators are thumbing their noses at New Zealand’s hygiene regulations and animal welfare requirements.”
“Illegal meat could be dangerous to eat and the trade could damage New Zealand’s international reputation as a supplier of high-quality foods.”
People who know anything about the unregulated killing and sale of meat in New Zealand are encouraged to confidentially ring 0800 693 721.