Update: Public consultation is expected in mid to late 2017. Animal Health Australia (AHA) sought and received an extension of the consultation period from 60 days to 90 days.

The draft welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry and the related papers are with the Animal Welfare Task Group for agreement to release for public consultation in 2017. The Regulation Impact Statement continues to be developed.

AHA will update this page to reflect the above, once a decision has been made.


A series of common questions and answers for poultry has been developed.

The development of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Poultry is an important initiative of all governments and poultry industries to guide the development of new, nationally consistent policies to enhance animal welfare arrangements in all Australian states and territories.

The poultry stakeholder advisory group will be comprised of representatives from all aspects of poultry care and management. Poultry stakeholder advisory group meetings are held to review the draft standards and guidelines and to provide to further guidance including for the public consultation part of the process.

The Stakeholder Advisory Groups Role:

  1. Provide technical and expert advice on suggested amendments to poultry draft standards and guidelines that will best achieve the identified objectives.
  2. Identify standards and guidelines that are unanimously agreed by the Stakeholder Advisory Group and those that are not.
  3. Provide advice on whether particular aspects of animal welfare are best achieved as standards or as guidelines.
  4. Provide advice on how to resolve outstanding issues.
  5. Provide additional advice or input as requested by the Project Manager (AHA).

The development process began in June 2015 and is supported and funded by all Governments, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc, the Australian Egg Corporation Limited, the Australian Duck Meat Association Inc, and the Australian Turkey Federation Inc.

The proposed standards are intended to replace the Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Domestic Poultry (4th Edition 2002), Husbandry of Captive-Bred Emus (2nd Edition 2006) and the Farming of Ostriches (1st Edition 2003) and are intended to be used as the basis for developing consistent legislation and enforcement across Australia by state and territory governments. The standards are also expected to be referenced in industry quality assurance programs. The standards are based on scientific knowledge, recommended industry practice and community expectations.

A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) will be developed and will seek endorsement by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. The RIS assesses the proposed standards, incorporates public consultation feedback and changes agreed by the majority of the project Stakeholder Advisory Group. This independently chaired group comprises of government representatives, industry council representatives from all sectors, research and animal welfare organisations.

From an animal welfare perspective, the document will cover all welfare aspects for poultry. This will include poultry meat processing and poultry species such as ducks, turkeys, geese, pheasants, guinea fowl, partridge, quail ostrich, emu and pigeons.

Each chapter within the standards and guidelines for poultry will contain:

  • Objectives - these are the intended overall outcome(s) for each section of the standards and guidelines
  • Standards– these are the requirements that must be met under animal welfare law
  • Guidelines– these are the recommended practices to achieve desirable animal welfare outcomes; they describe better animal welfare outcomes compared to the standards. Non-compliance with guidelines will not be an offence.