Rural butchers say forcing them to stun animals before they are slaughtered is unnecessary and costly.
Pre-slaughter stunning is now compulsory for all commercial slaughter operations in New Zealand under a new welfare code for the commercial slaughter of animals.
The code is the first to cover that field of animal welfare and has been under discussion for some years.
Federated Farmers says it called for rural butchers - who number about 500 - to be covered under a completely separate code.
Rural butchers chair Mike Hansen says they are trained to very high standards and no one has ever faced an animal cruelty charge.
Mr Hansen says having to kill stock with a bolt-gun or a rifle instead of a knife on farm will increase costs and also pose a safety risk, in particular to solo operators.
However, Federated Farmers will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the new code is understood and its requirements are met.