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Butcher Dan Klink has seen an increase in the number of customers being killed at home at his Mangawhai meat shop.
The number of customers being killed at home is rising in what butchers say is a response to Covid-19 and the demand for quality meat.
South Island butcher Mike Hanson and North Island butcher Dan Klink report an increase of at least 20% in the home slaughter trade since 2020 and particularly over the past year.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has 388 registered home destruction operators and said that number had increased in recent years.
Mangawhai Meat Shop owner Klink said there was a surge in demand, with customers picking up the habit of filling a freezer with meat all at once.
Klink puts the increase in the number of people avoiding contact with others in supermarkets and, an increase in the number of hobby farmers.
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He calculates that a customer who kills at home would pay about $13 per kilogram for all the cuts of beef slaughtered and processed by his company. In supermarkets, sirloin steak costs more than $30 per kg and chops around $15 per kg this week.
“Some clients have told me that they are happy to have raised and fed their own animal and then seen it feed their family. There’s a growth in the community of people wanting a connection to their food,” Klink said.
Ashburton’s Netherby Meats owner Mike Hanson says business has increased and he needs more staff.
He says demand for his in-home killing service has increased by at least 20% and he operates the truck twice a week. He takes the carcass back to the butcher and returns the ordered meat, where it is picked up by the owner.
“I think having animals slaughtered locally is better for the animal because they don’t have to travel long truck journeys and fewer trucks on the road are better for the environment.”
Chairman of Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ), Jono Walker wants to see at least two meat suppliers at each farmers’ market, but says there is a real shortage of slaughterhouses.
MARTIN DE RUYTER/STUFF
Amanda Turner at her home butcher business in Eighty Eight Valley, near Wakefield.
“We need more small slaughterhouses so farmers in the regions can sell their animals to a local slaughterhouse,” Walker said.
He said this would be possible if MPI reduced the “circles” a small business had to go through to get started.
“I know people who have tried unsuccessfully to run a slaughterhouse, and I think the ministry is not helping small businesses but just focusing on paperwork for big export businesses.”
Pukekohe’s Mobile Beef Packers has taken the home-killing service further with the company now operating an MPI-licensed mobile slaughterhouse, which owner Aaron Dodunski says is the first mobile service in New Zealand to transform the meat on the spot. Dodunski aims to bring a second truck to the South Island this year.
Under the Animal Products Act 1999, all home slaughter and recreational capture service providers, including dual operator butchers, must be listed and licensed by the MPI. Meat slaughtered at home cannot be sold commercially but belongs to the owner of the animals.