Animal Health Australia (AHA) together with Goat Industry Council of Australia (GICA) have developed the Australian Industry Standards and Guidelines for Goats. The industry standards and guidelines apply to all goat farming enterprises in Australia from extensive grazing to fully housed systems to individually owned. The industry standards and guidelines apply to all those responsible for the care and management of goats.
The development process began in June 2015 and was supported and funded by the Goat Industry Council of Australia. Unlike previous standards and guidelines these industry standards and guidelines are voluntary, which means the standards and guidelines would not go out for public consultation and the standards will be voluntary and not be regulated by Government. Pending goat industry and ministerial support and funding, the public consultation, Regulation Impact Statement and revision stages could occur at a later date.
The standards are written as if they were to be the legal requirements for goat welfare and use the word ‘must’. The standards could provide the basis for developing and implementing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia, including for industry QA schemes. The guidelines are the recommended practices to achieve desirable livestock welfare outcomes. Guidelines use the word ‘should’ and are designed to complement the standards.
The proposed standards are intended to eventually replace the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Goats and are intended to be used as the basis for developing consistent goat welfare management approaches across Australia. The standards are based on scientific knowledge, recommended industry practice and community expectations.
Are the Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats legally binding?
No, the Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats are not legally binding. It is recognised that, while currently legislated animal welfare requirements will continue to be mandatory, these voluntary industry standards and guidelines have the capacity to inform the future development of a nationally uniform legislative approach to goat welfare. Both the standards and guidelines are voluntary.
Who developed the Welfare Standards and Guidelines?
AHA and GICA developed the Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats together with a drafting group made up of experienced goat industry professionals representing the various goat industry sectors.
What is the difference between a ‘standard’ and a ‘guideline’?
A standard is best described as an industry requirement. For example, by adhering to an Australian Goat Welfare Standard you are meeting the minimum requirement industry has determined as acceptable. The guidelines are the recommended practices to achieve desirable welfare outcomes. Guidelines use the word ‘should’ and are designed to complement the standards. Non-compliance with one or more guidelines will not constitute an offence under law.
If I abide by the Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats, how will they help me?
By adopting the Australian Industry Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Goats, you can maintain and improve the health and welfare of your animals which can improve production and maintain market access.
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