Hero image desktop Hero image mobile

What’s the red meat industry doing about animal welfare?

Australian red meat producers are committed to caring for their animals, and want them to be pain and stress-free. They’re also proud of the industry standards they’ve established to prioritise animal health and wellbeing.

The red meat industry has stringent animal welfare standards, and aims to be recognised as world leaders in animal health, welfare and production practices.

These standards apply to anyone who is responsible for the care and management of livestock, and are based on current scientific knowledge, recommended industry practice and community expectations.

Ensuring people who work with animals ensure that their primary purpose is to care for those animals is the top priority for red meat producers like the Smithfield Cattle Company:



How does the red meat industry promote animal wellbeing?

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines were created to harmonise and streamline livestock welfare legislation across Australia. The standards form the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia.

The standards include:

  • Ensuring livestock have reasonable access to adequate and appropriate feed and water
  • Ensuring prompt treatment for sick, injured or diseased livestock
  • Ensuring pain relief when castrating cattle
  • Ensuring dogs are under effective control during the handling of livestock.

In addition, the Australian livestock industry commits to the five domains of animal welfare, which is an internationally recognised standard for optimal animal health and welfare.

The five domains are:

  • Nutrition
  • Environment
  • Health
  • Behaviour
  • Mental state.


What else is the industry doing about animal welfare?

The Australian red meat industry has been proactive in creating new programs and frameworks to support the industry’s commitment to best practice animal health and welfare. Programs such as the  Livestock Production Assurance  program demonstrate this commitment to animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety. Developed by the livestock industry, the program helps farmers demonstrate that their on-farm handling of livestock is consistent with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. 

Sustainability frameworks have also been created to meet the community’s changing expectations of the Australian red meat industry.  The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework  was launched in 2017 and The Australian Sheep Sustainability Framework  was launched in 2021. These frameworks define sustainable production and track the performance of key priorities, including animal welfare, over time.


Did you know?