Your obligations when transporting drought-affected livestock
When transporting livestock, you must ensure that they are appropriately cared for and handled throughout the process.
Codes of practice help plan and minimise the effect of the transport process on animals.
You should use the Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines for the land transport of livestock to help minimise the effect of transport on animals. These standards will help you meet your obligations under the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.
Generally, it is unacceptable to transport weak livestock because the rigors of the journey place additional stress on the animals. These stresses may severely affect the animal's welfare and can result in suffering, injury and death.
However, it is recognised that, during prolonged dry periods, livestock may be weakened. And, due to lack of available fodder, transporting them to agistment or sale may be the only viable management option. You need to manage this transportation to minimise the affect on the animals.
Obligations under the Animal Care and Protection Act
The Act states that it is cruel to transport animals when they are unfit to travel.
The Act places a legal duty of care on everyone in charge of animals to provide appropriately for the needs of those animals. This includes providing suitable fodder, water and proper handling. In deciding what is classed as appropriate care, consider the species, the environment, the animal's circumstances and the steps a reasonable person would be expected to take.
In the case of transportation, the definition of the 'person in charge' includes the owner, employees of the owner and anyone with custody of the animal at the time. This also includes agents, transporters or anyone else involved in the transportation process. There is a shared legal responsibility on everyone involved in transporting livestock to ensure that the welfare of the animals is not jeopardised.
Other welfare codes for livestock
Read more about the correct care and handling of livestock in the:
- animal welfare codes for cattle, emu, buffalo, feral livestock animals, camel, poultry, pigs, deer, goat and sheep
- animals at saleyards code
- livestock at slaughtering establishments code.
- Find out more about changes to the compulsory code for the land transport of livestock.
- Find out more about the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 .
- Read about the duty of care for animals.
- Learn about animal welfare during transport.
- Find out about feeding travelling cattle.
- Read about transporting poultry.
- Read the Stock handling guidelines at saleyards (PDF, 416KB).
- Learn about loading strategies for transporting cattle by road.
- Find out about the land transport of livestock code.