AN updated guide to help livestock producers, agents, buyers and transport operators decide if an animal is fit to be loaded for transport by road or rail has been released this week.
The 2019 edition of the national guide, Is the animal fit to load?, released by Meat & Livestock Australia, includes new content to ensure best practice animal welfare when preparing, loading and delivering cattle, sheep and goats.
MLA general manager for producer consultation and adoption Michael Crowley said with the industry continuing to deal with ongoing dry conditions across many livestock production regions, the release of the revised guide was timely.
“The Australian red meat industry is absolutely committed to animal welfare practices and ensuring livestock are cared for,” Mr Crowley said.
The guide has been developed to help livestock operators meet the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock, and decide whether an animal is fit to be loaded for transport and for the entire journey by road or rail, to any destination within Australia. It contains new information about loading densities for livestock, managing effluent, and the chain of responsibility for all involved.
The roles and responsibilities of consignors and transporters are clearly defined, along with checklists to help assess whether an animal is fit to load.
“Knowing who the ‘person in charge’ of animals is at different stages of the journey and the scope of those responsibilities is important for many reasons,” Mr Crowley said.
“If the ‘person in charge’ prepares to transport or transports an animal that is unfit, that person commits an act of cruelty upon that animal and may be liable to prosecution under state or territory legislation. As such, it is also unacceptable for any party to coerce or intimidate the ‘person in charge’ into loading an animal that is not fit for the journey.”
The new guide has been endorsed by all red meat peak industry councils, Animal Health Australia, Dairy Australia, and other peak industry bodies throughout the value chain. This includes the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, the Australian Livestock & Property Agents Association, and the Australian Livestock Markets’ Association.
To view a webinar on Fit the Load guidelines, produced earlier by Beef Central and Cattle Council of Australia, click here.
To view and download the new Fit to Load guide, click here.