Livestock standstill

A livestock standstill limits the spread of emergency animal disease by stopping the movement of livestock.

A livestock standstill is declared by government. It is a critical control measure to limit the spread of significant, highly contagious animal diseases by stopping the movement of at-risk livestock within, or from, a declared area.

Government may also impose movement controls on other items that could spread disease (e.g. meat, contaminated equipment).

Everyone in the livestock supply chain needs to understand how a livestock standstill works. This includes livestock owners, transporters, produce agents, and those who work in abattoirs, saleyards and feedlots.

Under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014, everyone must follow regulations and instructions issued as part of a livestock standstill. Penalties for breaching a livestock standstill can include fines and imprisonment.

Purpose of a livestock standstill

A livestock standstill:

  • helps to limit the spread of highly contagious diseases
  • gives authorities time to conduct biosecurity activities, such as
    • disease surveillance
    • tracing the movements of potentially infected animals to identify where a disease may have originated or spread.

What you should do in a livestock standstill

During a livestock standstill, you must not move any animals at risk of infection off a property, or receive any of these animals onto a property, except with permission from Biosecurity Queensland.

If at-risk animals are already in transit at the time a livestock standstill is declared, the owner or person in charge of the animals must comply with the requirements of the standstill and manage the animals appropriately to reduce the risk of spreading disease. The same applies to animals that are being walked from one property to another, including on stock routes.

Biosecurity Queensland will use risk assessments and movement guidelines to decide the best course of action during a livestock standstill, which may include determining appropriate destinations to which your animals can travel. This may be different from their original destination.

Beginning new journeys or moving at-risk animals without approval is a breach of the livestock standstill and is illegal.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries inspectors, Transport and Main Roads inspectors, and police all have powers to give directions that must be followed during a standstill. You must comply with all regulations and instructions issued as part of a livestock standstill.

Notification of a livestock standstill

If a livestock standstill were declared in Queensland, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries would notify:

  • livestock industry bodies
  • livestock transport companies
  • livestock owners
  • abattoirs
  • saleyards
  • feedlots
  • others in the livestock supply chain
  • the public.

The requirements during the standstill would be communicated using a range of channels, including the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website and industry networks.

If you hear about a livestock standstill by word-of-mouth, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 to confirm that the information is accurate.

Diseases that require a livestock standstill

Any significant and highly contagious emergency animal disease could trigger a livestock standstill.

For example, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a serious disease that spreads easily:

  • by movement of infected live or dead animals
  • on contaminated animal products, equipment, clothing, vehicles, animal feed, bedding and waste material
  • via airborne transmission.

In the case of FMD, the biggest transmission risk comes from live infected animals, which shed the virus. A livestock standstill would be a critical part of controlling FMD and other emergency animal diseases.

Animals affected by a livestock standstill

The species or classes of animals affected by a standstill will depend on the disease involved.

For example, in the case of FMD, all cloven-hoofed animals would be subject to the livestock standstill. This would include livestock such as cattle, pigs, sheep and goats; deer; and camelids such as camels, llamas and alpacas.

Length of a livestock standstill

A livestock standstill is likely to last a minimum of 72 hours.

Area affected by a livestock standstill

The area affected by a livestock standstill will depend on the size and nature of the disease outbreak. It could range from a single region to the entire state. Where multiple states are involved or concerned, the livestock standstill may include those jurisdictions or the entire country.

Vehicles affected by a livestock standstill

Any vehicle that is carrying animals at risk of infection or unloads these animals after a livestock standstill is declared may be directed to take certain action. Vehicles include:

  • body trucks
  • semi-trailers
  • train wagons.

Restrictions may also be placed on:

  • vehicles that carry products derived from at-risk animals, including meat and milk
  • vehicles that carry products used by at-risk animals, including stockfeed trucks, molasses tankers, milk trucks, farm 4WDs, farm tractors and farm motorbikes.

Ending a livestock standstill

A livestock standstill will end once urgent disease-control objectives have been met. These may include:

  • confirming a disease
  • assessing how far a disease has spread
  • identifying any properties at risk.

Where a disease is confirmed, the livestock standstill will transition to movement controls in restricted areas and control areas.

Any changes or actions during or after a standstill will be well publicised by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and through industry networks.

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