What welfare and environmental rules and regulations must Australian farmers follow?
Consumers are placing increasingly higher expectations on the Australian red meat and livestock industry about how animals should be cared for. In response, animal welfare standards and government regulations have become more stringent in recent years.
In addition, the industry has proactively developed the Livestock Production Assurance program to demonstrate its commitment to best practice animal welfare, biosecurity and food safety.
Farmers follow regulations mandated by federal, state and territory animal welfare, environment and planning legislation. They also follow rules required by the industry-run quality assurance program, Livestock Production Assurance. Processors and other customers may require farmers to follow additional rules.
The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines have been nationally agreed to harmonise and streamline livestock welfare legislation across Australia. Standards are essential requirements for animal welfare and 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.
Livestock Production Assurance is quality assurance program developed by the livestock industry that helps farmers provide evidence of the history of their livestock and on-farm practices when transferring livestock through the supply chain. This demonstrates to customers that Australian red meat is safe and is ethically produced.
Since October 2017 Livestock Production Assurance has included animal welfare and biosecurity elements. This enables accredited farmers to demonstrate that their on-farm handling of livestock is consistent with the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.