Animal health and welfare

Australian livestock exporters look after the animals in their care.

The reality is their livelihoods depend on producing healthy and content livestock.

Ensuring good animal health and welfare during the live exporting of animals means live exporters do everything from:

…ensuring livestock on board ships are provided with appropriate food, water, ventilation and protection from adverse weather
…ensuring a vet has assessed livestock to be fit to travel
…ensuring livestock remain fully traceable to the point of slaughter within approved supply chains.


Animal welfare in practice

Watch this YouTube video to see how the livestock export industry is responding to the animal welfare challenge.

Let’s get real

From time to time, we’ve all heard a story or seen some footage where livestock aren’t treated as well as the majority of animals in the industry.

Animal cruelty cases are just as distressing to the industry as they are to the community. 

So, what’s the industry doing about it?

The industry is highly regulated by the Australian Government, with livestock exporters fully responsible for the welfare of their livestock, right through to the point of slaughter in other countries.

The Australian red meat industry has also been proactive in creating new programs and systems to ensure and to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to best practice animal health and welfare. 

In a number of cases, our industry has led the world.

Here’re three examples of recent research our industry has completed to improve the welfare of livestock…

Heat stress: to assist animals in hot, dry environments, research is focusing on acclimatisation of different breeds of sheep, vitamin E and selenium deficiencies, shade infrastructure types and other cooling methods such as wetting and the addition of fans.
Animal welfare training: in-market training is being provided to abattoir workers in Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia about Australia’s livestock export regulations, low-stress stock handling and slaughter techniques.
Nutrition advice: Australian vets visit feedlots across South-East Asia to provide nutritional assistance to improve cattle efficiency and performance.

The live export industry has achieved a lot over the years, but there’s more to do. 

How livestock exporters know what to do

The actions livestock exporters take are informed by:

By putting into practice findings from proactive research and development funded by the red meat industry to enhance animal health and welfare during livestock exporting.

By following State and Federal Government animal welfare regulations including the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock which covers the preparation of livestock for the voyage from farm through to on-board care.

By demonstrating compliance with the Australian Government’s regulatory framework, Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System. The system requires livestock exporters to demonstrate livestock remain within approved supply chains at all times and conform with the World Organisation for Animal Health’s recommendations for animal handling and slaughter in the importing country.