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Rearing Your Meat At Home

View profile for JCP Solicitors
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In times gone by the killing of the farmers own stock for his family was one of the great things of living directly off the land. The memories of a farmer drinking his own herds milk or killing an animal in an outhouse for his family is something which may be remembered with some fondness. The fact that fewer do this is certainly not down to the fact that these are prohibited by law, in fact it is quite the reverse with the European regulations giving a clear exemption for homekill and the food standards agency providing limited guidance on the issue.

Essentially those who would consider filling their freezer with their new product need to consider the following issues:

The animal has to be killed with consideration of the animal welfare provisions. Essentially the killing should be done with an approved device, ordinarily a captive bolt.
The farmer has to despatch the animal himself and not through the assistance say of an itinerant slaughter man.
The food has to be eaten by the farmer and his immediate family. It cannot be shared with an extended family, guests or neighbours. In fact it was wrongly thought of until recently that it was the farmer only who could eat his own stock under these provisions, with visions of the farmer eating a rib eye steak with his children on the same table salivating watching him or her eat!
TSE regulations always apply and a negative test must be received before consumption. By products must be removed, stained and disposed of as per the regulations.

Finally, there is nothing which stops the farmer slaughtering his stock in an abattoir privately for his own use and asking a butcher to prepare and dress the animal either on site on his farm or even at the butchers shop. This is a grey area in the regulations which are outside the consideration of the regulations or guidelines. Essentially though as long as there are no breaches relating to hygiene issues in bringing the carcass into a butchers for cutting and dressing then the advice given by experts is that there is no breach.

What then is the advantage of this process? Well, when you have the stock and the ability to identify what you want to put on your families table why wouldn't you? The animal is less stressed, the meat will taste better and your freezer will be full for months.