Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines (Model Codes of Practice)
Consultation period open for cattle and sheep standards and guidelines
Public Consultation on two new draft Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines is now open.
All interested stakeholders, including members of the public are encouraged to comment on the new draft standards and guidelines for cattle, and for sheep; and associated draft regulation impact statements that examine the benefits and costs of the standards.
The standards and guidelines, which aim to create improved nationally consistent rules for the care and management of cattle and sheep across all farming enterprises in Australia, will replace the current Model Codes of Practice for the welfare of cattle and sheep. The new standards will be based on the latest available scientific evidence, knowledge and technology, and once endorsed by primary industry ministers, will be adopted into state and territory legislation.
The standards and guidelines have been developed in partnership with industry, service providers, scientists, welfare groups, state and territory governments and the commonwealth. The development process has been coordinated by Animal Health Australia using a business plan endorsed by primary industry ministers.
Visit the Animal Welfare Standards website for further details and to download the relevant documents.
Please email submissions to the relevant area:
Under Australia’s constitutional arrangements, state and territory governments are responsible for animal welfare arrangements within their jurisdictions. The states and territories set and enforce animal welfare standards through animal welfare or prevention of cruelty to animals legislation.
For Australia’s livestock industries the Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of Animals establish an agreed set of principles and practices. The Model Codes were commissioned by the Primary Industries Standing Committee and endorsed by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council. These Codes are implemented to differing levels of state and territory legislation and have largely served as (voluntary) guides for people responsible for the welfare and husbandry of a range of livestock animals.
The Australian Animal Welfare Strategy has identified enhanced national consistency in regulation and sustainable improvements in animal welfare based on science, national and international benchmarks and changing community standards as areas of priority effort.
Work is now underway to update the Model Codes of Practice and convert them into Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. The new documents will incorporate both national welfare standards and industry ‘best practice' guidelines for each species or enterprise.
In an effort to comprehensively cover all animal management sectors, new standards and guidelines will also be created where Model Codes of Practice did not exist. Standards and Guidelines currently in development include:
Existing Model Codes of Practice
The 'Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Pigs 3rd Edition (Pig Code)' was developed by the Animal Welfare Working Group in consultation with state, territory and Australian government departments with responsibility for agriculture and/or animal welfare; the CSIRO; the veterinary profession; industry; researchers; retailers/processors; and animal welfare groups.
The revised Pig Code was approved by the Primary Industries Ministerial Council in April 2007. All future Code revisions will result in an Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines document.
- Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals – Pigs 3rd Edition (Pig Code) PDF [316kb]
- Frequently asked questions about the revised Code PDF [30kb]
- Media Release - Primary Industries Ministerial Council - Council endorses improved welfare standards for pigs - 26 April 2007
The first Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines to be developed have been applied to livestock being transported by land. The new Land Transport Standards combine seven Models Codes of Practice and provisions on livestock transport appearing in 13 other Codes. The Land Transport Standards were endorsed by the Primary Industry Ministerial Council in May 2009 and the states and territories will now be responsible for implementation.
The Land Transport Standards cover the process of land transport of livestock by road or rail. 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.
These 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. These Land Transport Standards apply to the major commercial livestock species; cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, poultry (broilers, layers, turkeys, ducks, geese), ratites (emus and ostrich), buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas and horses (including horses used for sport and recreation).
The Australian animal welfare standards and guidelines for cattle will follow the principles described in the revised Standards and Guidelines Development Business Plan.
The cattle project has commenced with the first writing group held in February 2009.
The cattle writing group is comprised of: an Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) representative, Cattle Council, Australian Lot feeders and Dairy Australia representatives, a CSIRO science representative and a DAFF representative. The group will be led by an independent Chair and supported by Animal Health Australia (AHA).
For more information visit www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au
The Australian Animal welfare standards and guidelines for sheep will follow the principles described in the revised Standards and Guidelines Development Business Plan.
The sheep standards and writing group has commenced operations and met in March 2009 for the third writing group meeting.
The sheep writing group is comprised of: an Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) representative, Sheepmeat Council and WoolProducers representatives, CSIRO representative and a DAFF representative. The group will be led by an independent Chair and supported by Animal Health Australia (AHA).
Past members of the Land Transport Standards Reference Group have been invited to provide their views on issues for the writing group to consider. The Sheep Reference Group is likely to first convene in early 2009.
For more information visit www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au
The development of 'Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Horses' has been undertaken as a project of the Animals used in Work, Sport, Recreation or on Display Working Group. The process has been guided by an expert writing group in consultation with a broader reference group including representatives of the state and territory governments, horse industry bodies, animal welfare organisations and the scientific and veterinary communities.
A national Regulation Impact Analysis and public consultation is planned for the 2009-10 financial year. The public consultation process is the opportunity for members of the horse industry and the general community to have input into the draft standards and guidelines. This process will be coordinated by Animal Health Australia.
The development of 'Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Exhibited Animals' has been undertaken as a project of the Animals used in Work, Sport, Recreation or on Display Working Group under the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. The process has been guided by an expert writing group. A workshop on the draft national standards was held in July 2008 in Sydney. This forum involved representatives of the state and territory governments, zoo operators and animal welfare organisations.
The draft Standards and Guidelines have also been reviewed by an expert reference panel of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) and is now available for comment.
The consultation will be managed by the Animal Welfare Branch in DAFF and will involve an eight week period, starting on 15 June and ending on 14 August 2009.
Comments on the draft 'Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Exhibited Animals' can be made directly to the Animal Welfare Branch by email or post:
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Animal Welfare Branch
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601
After the consultation period the expert writing group will once again review the draft document before seeking formal endorsement for adoption by the states and territories.
For more information about the 'Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines: Exhibited Animals' please email the Animal Welfare Branch.
Other Codes of Practice
Codes of Practice for other animals can be downloaded from the CSIRO Publishing website.
Other Animal Welfare Guidelines
General guidelines for animal welfare have been developed by the National Consultative Committee on Animal Welfare (NCCAW) and are suggested practices for the acceptable use and treatment of animals in Australia. The guidelines are presented as position statements and are based on scientific knowledge and expertise. They have been developed in consultation with relevant industries and other stakeholders.
As the advisory committee to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on animal welfare issues of national significance, NCCAW submits these statements to the Minister who formally reports them to the state and territory ministers responsible for animal welfare, for their consideration and appropriate action.
The Position Statements on this website represent the considered views of NCCAW members which have been developed in consultation with stakeholders and, on particular issues, may not be the view or policy of the Australian Government.
NCCAW Position Statements:
- Animal welfare, animal liberation and animal rights
- Work, sport, recreation and display
- Animals in saleyards
- Animals used in research and teaching
- Aquatic animals
- Codes of practice and animal welfare legislation
- Controlling pest animals
- Information for veterinarians
- Livestock and production animals
- Companion animals
- Transport and export of animals
13 May 2013