9 Feb 2022

Home kills on the rise

From Afternoons, 1:30 pm on 9 February 2022

Home-kill butchers have noticed an increase in people growing their own meat. 

Some people with "a wee bit of ground" are taking great care to grow animals to feed their families with, Southland butcher Craig Hamilton tells Jesse Mulligan.


Photo: Pascal DeBrunner / Unsplash

Related: Homekilled meat: rules and food safety

Home-kill meat tastes better than meat from an abattoir as the animal has had a better life and is less stressed when that life comes to an end, Craig says.

"You're killing a beast that someone has fed and looked after for the last 18 months, 2 years.

"The flavour is second to none compared to the store-bought abattoir stuff."

Although some of his customers don't like to see the killing, death by a single shot without relocation is actually the kindest way, he says.

"We pull up there. He'll have a look at us and we'll have a look at him and then we put him on the ground. Nice clean shot.

"The animal is in its own environment. It's standing there, in its own bloody paddock with its mates… and the light goes out, you know?''

The butchers then skin and cut up the animal, load it into a truck and take it back to the shop where it's aged for ten days on the bone.

They then process the meat to the individual family's requirements, which might be simple cuts or fancier ones like salami and t-bone steaks.

While it's usually pigs and sheep that people raise to feed their families, lambs, goats, deer and llama sometimes serve the same purpose, Craig says.

"I think we've even done a miniature horse. I don't recommend that one."

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