Sheep Background

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep replace the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: The Sheep, PISC report 89, CSIRO Publishing, 2006. They apply to all people responsible for the care and management of sheep.

They aim to follow the principles described in the revised Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines Development Business Plan.

The sheep writing group was responsible for drafting the standards and guidelines for sheep and was comprised of representatives from Animal Welfare Committee, Sheep Producers Australia (formerly Sheepmeat Council), WoolProducers Australia, CSIRO science and the Department of Agriculture and led by an independent Chair and supported by Animal Health Australia.

The sheep reference group was comprised of representatives from all aspects of sheep care and management. Reference group meetings were held to review the standards and guidelines draft and to provide further guidance; public consultation period is part of the process.

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep include chapters on:

  • Responsibilities
  • Feed and water
  • Risk management of extreme weather, natural disasters, disease, injury and predation
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Handling and husbandry
  • Tail docking and castration
  • Mulesing
  • Breeding management
  • Intensive sheep production systems
  • Humane killing

Each chapter within the standards and guidelines for sheep 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.

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 by the majority of the Reference Group responsible for guiding the development of the standards and guidelines.

Page reviewed: December 2020