The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestockcontain standards related to livestock undertaking the process of land transport by road and rail.
The Land Transport S&G apply to all people responsible for the care and management of livestock that are transported throughout the entire process including agents, transport operators and people on farms, at depots, sale yards, feedlots and processing plants. There is a chain of responsibility for the welfare of livestock that begins with the owner or their agent and extends to the final receiver of the livestock.
The Land Transport S&G apply to the major commercial livestock industries in Australia: cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, alpacas, poultry (broilers, layers, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants, guinea fowl, partridge, quail and pigeons), emus, ostriches, buffalo, deer and camels.
The Australian Government has animal welfare responsibilities for export abattoirs and the live animal export trade.
The Land Transport S&G were endorsed by state and territory governments in 2009.
A large number of stakeholders, including welfare organisations, livestock industry representatives and service providers, were involved in shaping the Land Transport S&G. Animal Health Australia managed the process on behalf of all government and industry members. The standards were drafted by a small writing group comprising researchers, government and industry representatives, supported by a widely representative reference group.
The main decision-making principles used for developing the standards were to ensure the Land Transport S&G are:
desirable for livestock welfare
feasible for industry and government to implement
important for the livestock-welfare regulatory framework
achieve the intended outcome for livestock welfare.
As part of the process for developing the Land Transport S&G, a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was developed and endorsed by the Commonwealth Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Decision RIS assessed the proposed standards and incorporated public consultation feedback and changes agreed by the majority of the group responsible for guiding the development of the Land Transport S&G.
Consultation on the draft Land Transport S&G concluded in May 2008.
Views were sought from interested parties about how the draft Land Transport S&G would help protect the welfare of livestock being transported. Also open for comment was the associated Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which aimed to demonstrate the need for the Land Transport S&G, and identified the key costs and benefits for livestock, producers, the government, and the wider community. Stakeholders gave feedback before finalisation of the Land Transport S&G.
The following Results of the public consultation for the Draft Land Transport S&G and the Regulatory Impact Statement provides a summary of the invited comments and submissions received during the public consultation period, and the subsequent consideration of these documents by the Land Transport S&G writing and reference groups.
The implementation dates (as of June 2023) for the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines – Land Transport of Livestock by state and territory Governments are listed below.
A review of Horses under the Land Transport S&G is underway. See Horses for more.
Australian Capital Territory
The Land Transport S&G were implemented in the ACT as a mandatory code of practice under the Animal Welfare Act 1992 with effect from 18 May 2018.
New South Wales
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Land Transport of Livestock) Standards 2013 No 1 was implemented in June 2013. The Land Transport S&G are listed in Schedule 1 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2012 as relevant Standards under Part 4 of the Regulation. There are minor differences from the Land Transport S&G where there was pre-existing legislation – these are dealt with by the insertion of notes in the appropriate clause.
The Land Transport S&G were adopted under the Livestock Regulations in January 2013. Compliance and enforcement activity is undertaken by the Department of Primary Industry and Resources Veterinary Officers and Livestock Biosecurity Officers. Adoption of revisions of the Land Transport S&G are subject to legislative processes and timeframes.
Queensland regulated the Land Transport S&G as a compulsory requirement under the Animal Care and Protection Regulation in January 2014. Enforcement of these laws commenced from 1 August 2014.
In South Australia, the Land Transport S&G came into effect in August 2012. The Animal Welfare Regulations 2012 were remade on that date and included the Livestock Transport Standards written in a legally enforceable manner.
The Tasmanian Animal Welfare (Land Transport of Livestock) Regulations commenced in June 2013. The standards were adopted as regulations from the Land Transport S&G.
The Land Transport S&G are prescribed (5 March 2013) by reference into enforceable regulations under the Victorian Livestock Management Act 2010. The Act encourages livestock operators to demonstrate compliance with the Standards through participation in approved industry Quality Assurance programs.
On 3 October 2020, the Animal Welfare (Transport, Saleyards and Depots) (Cattle and Sheep) Regulations 2020 (Transport Regulations) came into effect in Western Australia. The Transport Regulations implement the standards set out in the Land Transport S&G to the extent that they relate to sheep and cattle. Consideration will be given to introducing regulations that apply to the remaining classes of livestock following the completion of regulations implementing the Sheep and Cattle S&Gs. Western Australia has also adopted the Land Transport S&G as a COP under its Animal Welfare Act 2002. This means that, where a person has been charged with cruelty, compliance with the Land Transport S&G can be used as a defence to the charge and non-compliance must be taken into consideration by the court.