New legally enforceable welfare standards governing the transport of animals across Australia are set to be introduced nationally from July 1.
The impending introduction of the new standards was flagged on Beef Central on May 24, with further details released publicly this week.
For the first time standards will be the same in all States and Territories.
The Australian Standards and Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals – Land Transport of Livestock (LTS) was developed by industry, welfare organisations and government through the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS).
The LTS replaced existing codes of practice.
An AAWS press release issued yesterday describes the strategy as a collaborative program which aims to deliver sustainable improvements in welfare for all Australian animals and across the entire community.
Yesterday's release states:
“The program is being delivered in partnership with state and territory government agencies, industry groups, animal welfare organisations, research bodies and professional associations, with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) providing coordination and program management.
“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 Chair Keith Adams said.
“Improving animal welfare is the responsibility of everyone in the community, and those people who are involved in the transportation of livestock by land anywhere in Australia should take time to understand their obligations under these new standards.
“Brochures explaining the changes have been distributed through industry networks, and detailed information on how the standards apply to different livestock species can be found at www.livestockwelfarestandards.net.au.?
“The standards cover all aspects of the transportation chain, from vehicles and facilities, to loading and unloading procedures, allowable time off water (this can vary depending on age and species), and the humane destruction of injured or ill animals.
“The standards cover the transport of livestock by road and rail, and by livestock transport vehicle aboard a ship, 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 be applied for a breach of the standards.
“Livestock prepared and selected for transport must be fit for the intended journey; 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 deliver on three of the AAWS over-arching goals by delivery sustainable improvements in animal welfare; nationally consistent animal welfare outcomes; and improved skills and understanding of animal welfare practices in the community.”
More information on the Australian Standards & Guidelines for the Welfare of Animals Land Transport of Livestock is available at www.livestockwelfarestandards.net.au and more information on the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) is available at www.australiananimalwelfare.com.au
Tips for planning and preparation for transport
- Identify all people responsible for the care, management and handling of livestock at all stages of the transport process and make them aware of their responsibilities.
- Ensure adequate planning and contingency measures are put in place to minimise risks to livestock welfare.
- Ensure that livestock transport vehicles and facilities for holding, loading and unloading are constructed, maintained and operated to minimise risks to livestock welfare.
- Livestock selected for transport must be fit for the intended journey.