Animal welfare is essential for sustainable and profitable cattle production. It is also a legal responsibility.
The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle (PDF, 1.25MB), encourages humane management practices, sets minimum standards of treatment of cattle, and informs people in charge of cattle of their responsibilities.
People responsible for cattle welfare are whoever is in charge of cattle throughout the supply chain and includes: owners; representatives of owners; property staff; contractors; transport workers; saleyard and abattoir staff; spelling establishment operators and processors.
Whether cattle are being produced through broad acre grazing or in intensive feedlots, owners/managers have a duty of care to ensure that the animals basic needs (based on the Five freedoms for animals RSPCA) are met. They are responsible for providing:
- sufficient food and water
- appropriate living conditions
- an opportunity for cattle to display normal behavioural patterns
- protection from injury or disease and treatment if required
- appropriate handling.
Information available about key aspects of cattle welfare includes:
- Live export
- Extended dry seasons
- Natural disasters
- Animal welfare legislation.
- Is it fit to load: a national guide to the selection of animals fit to transport (PDF, 1.86MB), Meat & Livestock Australia
- Animal Welfare: Livestock, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA)
- Livestock welfare and land transport standards, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (NT)
- Guidelines for feeding travelling cattle, Biosecurity Queensland
- Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines – land transport of livestock, Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines
- Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)
- Is it fit to export? (PDF, 3.62MB)
- Australian standards for the export of livestock, Australian Government
- Managing cattle in dry conditions: Pastoralists’ options and animal welfare responsibilities (PDF, 684KB), Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (WA)
- Animal welfare in natural disasters, Biosecurity Queensland
- Welfare of drought-affected livestock, Biosecurity Queensland
Specific information about national, state and territory government animal welfare legislation can be found at:
- Northern livestock transporters course, Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (NT)
- National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme and Quality Assurance workshops, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association
- Animal health workshops, Australian Lot Feeders’ Association
- Animal welfare, Australian Government
- Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines
- Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association
- Beef industry newsletters and magazines
- Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland
- Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System
- Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited
- PestSmart Connect
- Wild dog information and management guidelines, Biosecurity Queensland
- Health and disease
- Grazing land management