People still butcher their own meat

Battles only with permission

Anyone who slaughters sheep as a food business operator - and thus not only for the private domestic sector - has been a slaughterhouse operator since 2006.

Before an animal is slaughtered for the first time, he needs to have his farm approved by the responsible district veterinarian. Neither the number of slaughter days per year nor the number of slaughters play a role.

Exception: home slaughter

Only slaughter for domestic use, the so-called home slaughter, is exempt from the licensing requirement. The meat slaughtered in the process may only be used in the household of the owner. Giving it free of charge, for example to friends and acquaintances, is also not permitted.

The approval of such small slaughterhouses is not comparable to the "EU approval" of larger slaughterhouses. For the approval of small, artisanal butcher shops and direct marketers with small slaughter numbers, the new law contains discretionary leeway. Sheep farmers are well advised to contact the responsible veterinary office at an early stage and to discuss the details.

A sheep farmer can deliver sheep or lambs ready for slaughter, for example for the Muslim festival of sacrifice, alive. The name and address of the person taking over must then be entered in the inventory register or in the accompanying document. The shepherd can also sell the animal to the interested party and then, if he is competent in terms of the Animal Welfare Slaughter Ordinance, slaughter it in his own company on his behalf. If the sheep farmer does not have an approved slaughterhouse, this slaughter is only permitted as part of a home slaughter. This means that the use of the meat for the customer is limited to his own household.

These rules apply

In principle, compliance with the following regulations must be observed for all slaughterings, including house slaughtering:

  • Every slaughter must be reported to the veterinary office in good time because official examinations must be carried out before slaughter (ante-mortem inspection, "live inspection") and the meat (meat inspection, "meat inspection").
  • If the ante-mortem inspection does not reveal any complaints and the animals are adequately marked and clean, the slaughter permit is issued. This entitles them to be slaughtered within the next 24 hours.
  • Anyone who wants to slaughter needs a certificate of expertise. This is issued by the veterinary office on request if the necessary knowledge is proven. According to the Animal Welfare Act, slaughter without prior stunning is not permitted. Exceptions are usually not granted.
  • When sheep are slaughtered less than 12 months old, the so-called TSE / BSE risk materials must be removed and properly disposed of (animal body disposal facility), i.e. they must be collected and transported separately from other waste and remain identifiable. The proof of disposal must be kept.
  • Official meat inspection is carried out after slaughter. A TSE / BSE test must be carried out on sheep that are older than 18 months or in which more than two permanent incisors have broken through the gums.


There are no special hygienic requirements for house slaughter alone. In this respect, the home slaughter does not differ from the other processes in private kitchens. Sheep Breeding Association of North Rhine-Westphalia