30 April 2012 ‘Cow pooling’ and Homekill
With ‘Cow Pooling’ in the spotlight following last night’s Sunday programme, Federated Farmers Rural Butchers believes it has a role to play in reconnecting the public to their food.
“Cow Pooling, from what I saw on Sunday last night did seem legitimate,” says Mike Hanson, Federated Farmers Rural Butchers chairperson.
“The impression I got was people taking shares in a farm animal, which was then 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 a 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 involved 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 honestly feel works. We’d be concerned if there was a move to tighten as it will only drive the black market we’ve got problems with.
“From a Rural Butcher’s perspective, I guess we prefer he term Farm Meat because that’s ultimately what we produce for our customers
“So is homekill for everybody? Probably not. It’s really 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 says you must be actively engaged in the ‘day-to-day maintenance’ of an animal for 28-days before it can be processed. That said it’s potentially a good thing to reconnect people to their food.
“That connection’s important as the Sunday Star Times quizzed 21 primary students and all thought cotton socks came from animals. Some students thought scrambled eggs came from plants while most were convinced yoghurt grew on trees.
“Rural Butchers are qualified to humanely dispatch animals, in what for the animal is a relaxed and natural setting. We’ve got the equipment and the skill to professionally and safely process the animal into whatever cuts the customer desires.
“Being professionals regulated by the Food Safety Authority, we know what to look out for in an animal and if things aren’t right, we won’t process it for human consumption. A number of our operators are dual operators meaning they can process homekill on retail premises.
“What Sunday’s ‘Cow Pooling’ story tells us is a growing number of people want to deal direct with farmers and have a connection to the meat they eat. Somehow, I don’t think this is a fad,” Mr Hanson concluded.
For more information, please contact Mike Hanson, Federated Farmers Rural Butchers chairperson, 027 269 4133, 03 308 7354