Cattle Background

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle were endorsed by state and territory governments in 2016.

They replace the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Cattle, PISC report 85, CSIRO Publishing, 2004.

The drafting of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle involved the following groups:

  • Writing group – responsible for drafting the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle. This group comprised of representatives from Animal Welfare Committee, Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Lot Feeders` Association Inc, Dairy Australia, CSIRO and the Department of Agriculture and led by an independent Chair and supported by Animal Health Australia.
  • Reference group – responsible for reviewing the draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle to provide further guidance including the public consultation process. This group comprised of representatives from all aspects of cattle care and management.

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle apply to all people responsible for the care and management of cattle and cover all aspects of animal welfare for cattle within the following chapters:

  • Responsibilities
  • Feed and water
  • Risk management of extreme weather, natural disasters, disease, injury and predation
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Handling and management
  • Castration, dehorning and spaying
  • Breeding management
  • Calf rearing systems
  • Dairy management
  • Beef Feedlots
  • Humane killing

Each chapter within the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle contains:

  • 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.

As part of the process for developing the standards and guidelines, a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was developed and endorsed by the Commonwealth Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Decision RIS assessed the proposed standards and incorporated public consultation feedback and changes agreed by the majority of the Reference Group responsible for guiding the development of the standards and guidelines.

Page reviewed: December 2020