The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry contain standards for the welfare of all poultry, in all types of farming enterprises in Australia. They apply to all those people with responsibilities for the care and management of poultry.
The Poultry S&G apply to the major commercial poultry species in Australia such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pheasants, guinea fowl, partridge, quail, ostrich, emu and pigeons.
The Commonwealth and States and Territories have worked together to endorse the Poultry S&G, which as of July 2023 replace the older, voluntary Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Domestic Poultry 4th edition (2002), plus equivalent Model Codes of Practice for the farming of ostriches and captive-bred emus. The new Poultry S&G will promote harmonisation of national animal welfare legislation, and provide clarity and consistency to industry, consumers and trading partners.
The Poultry S&G will be used as the basis for developing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia and the guidelines will be incorporated into national industry quality assurance and verification schemes.
The Poultry S&G were developed in consultation with state and territory governments, livestock industry organisations, animal welfare groups and the general public, with the support of agriculture ministers and senior officials from all jurisdictions. The Poultry S&G were drafted by a small interjurisdictional drafting group, in a process initially managed by Animal Health Australia (AHA) under the guidance of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the interjurisdictional Animal Welfare Task Group (AWTG).
In February 2020, agriculture ministers agreed to appoint an independent panel to oversee the finalisation of the Poultry S&G, drawing on the extensive resources from the previous poultry standards development work. The panel consulted state and territory government departments, industry representatives and animal welfare groups during their work. This was an important part of the Poultry S&G development process.
The panel were asked to ensure that the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry:
provided the basis for nationally consistent and effectively enforced regulation
improved animal welfare outcomes within Australia’s poultry industries
reflected contemporary animal welfare science, taking into account current industry practices, cost-benefits, new technologies and practicalities of implementation
aligned with the values and expectations widely shared by the Australian community
met the expectations of trading partners, taking into account possible domestic and international trade impacts.
As part of the process for developing the standards and guidelines, a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was developed and endorsed by the Commonwealth Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Decision RIS assessed the proposed Poultry S&G and incorporated the feedback and changes.
Consultation on the draft Poultry S&G was open from November to February in 2018.
Views were sought from interested parties about how the draft Poultry S&G would help protect the welfare of poultry. Also open for comment was the associated Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which aims to demonstrate the need for the Poultry S&G, and identifies the key costs and benefits for poultry, producers, the government, and the wider community.
Stakeholders gave feedback before finalisation of the Poultry S&G. The following poultry public consultation report provides a summary of the invited comments and submissions received during the public consultation period for the draft Poultry S&G and the associated Consultation RIS.
The Commonwealth and States and Territories have worked together on the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry. In July 2023, agriculture ministers from all States and Territories agreed to endorse the Poultry S&G.
The Poultry S&G were finalised by the Independent Poultry Panel commissioned by all agriculture ministers. The standards are the culmination of the extensive stakeholder and public consultation process described above, and are underpinned by contemporary animal welfare science.
Each state and territory will implement the Poultry S&G in due course.