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:

  1. sufficient food and water
  2. appropriate living conditions
  3. an opportunity for cattle to display normal behavioural patterns
  4. protection from injury or disease and treatment if required
  5. appropriate handling.

Information available about key aspects of cattle welfare includes:



Live export

Extended dry seasons

Natural disasters

Animal welfare legislation

Specific information about national, state and territory government animal welfare legislation can be found at: