Land Transport Background

The first Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines developed were applied to livestock being transported by land. The Land Transport Standards combines seven Models Codes of Practice and provisions on livestock transport appearing in 13 other Codes. The Land Transport Standards cover the process of land transport of livestock by road, rail and vehicle onboard a ship. From an animal welfare perspective, this process commences at the time that animals are first deprived of feed and water prior to loading to the time that livestock have access to water (with the exception of day old chicks and poultry sent for processing) at the completion of the journey (destination) and includes:

  • mustering and assembly;
  • handling and waiting periods prior to loading;
  • loading, journey duration, travel conditions, spelling periods;
  • unloading and holding time.

The Australian Government has animal welfare responsibilities for export abattoirs and the live animal export trade. The state and territory governments are responsible for the regulation of animal welfare in Australia.

The Land Transport Standards apply to all people responsible for the care and management of livestock that are transported throughout the entire process including agents, transport operators and people on farms, at depots, sale yards, feedlots and processing plants. They apply to the major commercial livestock industries in Australia: cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, alpacas, poultry (broilers, layers, turkeys, ducks, geese, pheasants, guinea fowl, partridge, quail and pigeons), emus, ostriches, buffalo, deer and camels.

Livestock transport begins at the loading of livestock into a container or on to a vehicle and concludes on unloading of livestock at the final destination.  There is a chain of responsibility for the welfare of livestock that begins with the owner or their agent and extends to the final receiver of the livestock.

Each chapter in the Land Transport Standards contains:

  • Objectives – these are the intended outcome(s) for each section of the standards
  • Standards – these are the minimum requirements that must be met under animal welfare law
  • Guidelines – these are the recommended practices to achieve desirable animal welfare outcomes; they are used for guidance and describe higher animal welfare outcomes compared to the minimum requirements of the Standards.

The Regulation Impact Analysis

A key aspect of creating new animal welfare standards is to identify the costs and benefits that they will have for a wide range of stakeholders. This is typically done by preparing a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).

A RIS is a required document prepared by the department, agency, statutory authority or board responsible for a regulatory proposal (in this case the Draft Land Transport Standards) following consultation with affected parties. The RIS formalises and documents how authorities have assessed the costs and benefits for the community of the possible changes to an existing (or a new) regulation and includes recommendations for the most effective and efficient option.

Authorities are required to conduct public consultation to seek feedback and determine the level of support there is for the RIS. When the RIS is assessed, it must include a consultation statement that shows how consultation was undertaken, who was consulted and a summary of their views, and that those views were considered.

Abridged Public Consultation Version of the Regulation Impact Statement – March 2008

Page reviewed: 30 January 2017