New national standards for the transport of livestock have been developed to protect the welfare of animals.
For the first time these standards will be the same in all states and territories.
Replacing the existing codes of practice is the Australian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of animals, developed by industry, welfare organisations and the government through the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS).
Under Australia’s constitutional arrangements, state and territory governments are responsible for animal welfare arrangement within their jurisdictions.
The states and territories set and enforce animal welfare standards through animal welfare or prevention of cruelty to animals legislation.
“The new standards bring consistency to the way livestock are transported nationally, and they aim to ensure good welfare practices for all livestock journeys.” AAWS Livestock and Production working group chairman Keith Adams said.
The standards cover all aspects of transportation from vehicles and facilities, to loading and unloading procedures, allowable time off water and the humane destruction of injured or ill animals.
“Livestock prepared and selected for transport must be fit for the intended journey and they must be healthy and free from disease,” Mr Adams said.
“These standards ensure that livestock must be handled, loaded, transported and unloaded in a manner that minimises risks to livestock welfare.”
The standards cover the transport of livestock by road, rail, aboard ships and apply to cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, horses, camels, alpaca, buffalo, deer, emus and ostriches.
The new national standards will be regulated by state and territory governments and penalties may apply for a breach of the standards.
Brochures explaining the changes have been distributed through industry networks, and detailed information on how these standards apply to different livestock species can be found at www.livestockwelfarestandards. net.au.