30 April 2012
‘Cow pooling’ and Homekill
With ‘cow pooling’ in the spotlight following TV One’s Sunday programme, Federated Farmers Rural Butchers believes it has a role to play in reconnecting the public to their food.
“From what I saw on Sunday last night, ‘cow pooling’ seemed legitimate,” says Mike Hanson, Federated Farmers Rural Butchers chairperson.
“The impression I got was that people owned the farm animal and had it processed through a licensed abattoir. If that’s
the case the meat is legitimate. So much so, they’ll even pay a Beef+Lamb NZ levy on it.
“By dealing direct with the farmer and then through a licensed abattoir, consumers seem to be bypassing the supermarket
end. The farmer arguably gets more for their stock while the licensed abattoir gets increased volume.
“That’s much different from homekill, which also featured last night. Homekill falls under the Animal Products Act 1999
and is legislation we feel works well. We’d be concerned if there was a move to tighten rules because doing so could
fuel the trade in black market meat.
“I guess you need to ask yourself if homekill is really for you. It’s only an option for those people who want to be
actively involved with the animal they’ll end up consuming.
“If you aren’t a farmer or farm worker, the Animal Products Act states that you must be actively engaged in the
‘day-to-day maintenance’ of an animal for 28-days before it is processed.
“That said, it’s potentially a good way to reconnect people to where their food actually comes from.
“That connection is important when the Sunday Star Times quizzed 21 primary students; all believing cotton socks came from animals. Some thought scrambled eggs came from plants
and most were convinced yoghurt grew on trees.
“Rural Butchers are qualified to humanely dispatch animals in a relaxed and natural setting for the animal. We’ve got
the equipment and skills to professionally and safely process the animal into whatever cuts the customer desires.
“A number of our members are dual operators, meaning they can process homekill on retail premises. Being professionals
regulated by the NZ Food Safety Authority, we know what to look out for. If things aren’t right we won’t process meat
for human consumption. .
“What Sunday’s ‘cow pooling’ story tells us, is a growing number of people want to deal direct and have a connection to
the meat they eat. Somehow, I don’t think this is a fad,” Mr Hanson concluded.