Land Transport Background

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines — Land Transport of Livestock 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 before loading, to the time that livestock have access to water (except for day-old chicks and poultry sent for processing) after the journey (destination) and include:

  • mustering and assembly
  • handling and waiting periods before 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 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. 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.

The Land Transport Standards 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.

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

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 to by the majority of the reference group responsible for guiding the development of the standards and guidelines.

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

Page reviewed: December 2020