Land Transport Standards Saleyards
Saleyards play an important link in the livestock supply chain. Operators of saleyards must ensure the welfare of livestock under their control during transit through saleyards. The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock, commonly referred to as the Land Transport Standards set out requirements which saleyard operators must comply with to ensure the welfare of livestock under their control. These Standards are being adopted into enforceable legislation.
Are the Land Transport Standards different to the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals at Saleyards?
The Land Transport Standards (LTS) are based on the revision of the Model Codes of Practice for Welfare for the transport of various livestock species. The LTS will complement but not replace the
Code of Practice for the welfare of animals at saleyards. Eventually the Saleyard Welfare Code of Practice will be revised into Standards and Guidelines for the welfare of animals at saleyards.
Do the Land Transport Standards apply to Saleyard Operators?
The LTS will apply to all persons (livestock operators ) involved in the livestock transport process. Livestock operators include the consignor, transporter and receiver of livestock. Often the livestock transport process will involve saleyards. Therefore, operators of saleyards (saleyard superintendants) will be responsible for the welfare of livestock held at saleyards.
What are my obligations as a Saleyard Operator?
The Livestock Management Act 2010 (LMA) requires all livestock operators involved in the livestock transport process to comply with the LTS. There will be court penalties and/or infringements for those operators found to be in breach of the standards.
The LMA also requires livestock operators to conduct a systematic risk assessment of any prescribed livestock management standards within six months of these Standards being adopted into legislation. This involves an assessment of the likely risks to animal welfare arising from the livestock management activity. Refer to the department Information Note - Livestock Management Standards - A Systematic Risk Assessment for further information on how to conduct a risk assessment.
Livestock operators who are participating in an approved compliance arrangement such as an industry Quality Assurance (QA) program, are deemed 'accredited livestock operators', and will be exempt from conducting the systematic risk assessment. As such, a risk assessment will have been performed under the rules of their approved QA program.
The National Saleyards Quality Assurance (NSQA) Program is yet to be assessed against the criterion for an 'approved compliance arrangement'; that is, the program can demonstrate that its members are compliant with the LTS.
What are welfare 'Standards' and 'Guidelines'?
Standards are the legal requirements for livestock welfare and use the word 'must'. The standards detail the requirements of livestock management practices and tasks.
Guidelines are recommended practices to achieve desirable welfare outcomes. Guidelines use the word 'should' and are designed to complement the standards.
Saleyard Superintendants should have a copy of the LTS document and ensure their staff are aware of their responsibilities under the Standards in ensuring good animal welfare outcomes.
What are the specific requirements of the Land Transport Standards applicable to Saleyards?
Below are some of the key standards (designated with an 'S' and guidelines (designated with a 'G') which relate specifically to saleyard operations.
SA 1.1 A person in charge must exercise a duty of care to ensure the welfare of livestock under their control and compliance with the livestock transport standards.
Facilities for livestock
SA 3.1 Livestock facilities for holding, loading and unloading facilities must be constructed, maintained and operated in a way that minimises risk to the welfare of livestock.
GA 3.13 Solid yard extensions should be used to cover any gaps between the loading ramp floor and the vehicle …
GA 3.14 Railings on ramps and raceways should be appropriate height, with the gaps sufficiently narrow at the bottom to prevent livestock being caught, slipping through or becoming injured.
GA 3.15 Ramps need to be wide enough to ensure easy movement and should be an appropriate slope for the species and class of livestock.
SA 4.4 Where livestock are assessed to be not fit for the intended journey before loading, the person in charge must make effective arrangements for the care, appropriate treatment or humane destruction of weak, ill or injured livestock at the first opportunity.
Feed, water and rest requirements and considerations
SA 5.1 If the maximum permitted time off water is reached, livestock must be provided with water, food and rest before continuing the current journey or before starting another journey.
Refer to table 1 for the maximum permitted time off water periods for cattle, sheep goats and pigs.
SA 5.3 If no documentation is provided indicating the last time the livestock had access to water, livestock at a saleyard, spelling facility or staging point must be provided with reasonable access to water after 24 hours at the facility.
GA 5.43 Livestock at a saleyard, spelling facility or staging point should be provided with reasonable access to water after 12 hours, and to feed after 36 hours at the facility.
SA 5.7 Livestock must be handled in a manner that is appropriate to the species and class, and minimises pain and injury. Specifically:
- Livestock must not be lifted by only the head, ears, horns, neck, tail, wool
- Livestock must not be lifted off the ground by a single leg, except in the case of sheep, goats and pigs if they are less than 15 kgs live weight.
- Livestock must not be thrown or dropped
- Livestock must not be struck in an unreasonable manner, punched or kicked.
- Downer livestock must not be dragged, except in an emergency to allow safe handling, lifting, treatment or humane destruction.
SA 5.8 Electric prodders must not be used:
- On genital, anal or facial areas
- On livestock under three months of age
- On livestock that are unable to move away
- Excessively on an animal.
There are some further restrictions of the use of electric prodders for some classes of animals and species, eg pregnant stock. (refer to the LTS document).
SA 5.9 Dogs must be under control at all times during loading, transporting and unloading livestock. Dogs that habitually bite deer, goats, horses, pigs and sheep must be muzzled.
SA 5.14 The person receiving the livestock must make arrangements at the first opportunity for the separating of weak, ill or injured livestock for rest and recovery, appropriate treatment, or humane destruction and disposal of dead stock.
GA 5.52 Livestock that cannot walk from the vehicle ('downers') should be destroyed humanely on the vehicle, where practical. Alternatively, facilities, equipment and sufficient personnel should be available for the humane unloading of these livestock and their humane destruction at the first opportunity.
SA 6.1 Humane destruction methods must result in immediate loss of consciousness followed by death while unconscious.
SA 6.2 Humane destruction must be carried out on moribund livestock, by a competent person or under their direct supervision at the first opportunity.
Refer to the Land Transport Standards and Guidelines document for recommended methods and procedures for humane destruction.
Maximum permitted time off water and minimum spell periods
Table 1 summarises the maximum permitted time off water and minimum spell period (water, food and rest) once cattle, sheep, goats and pigs reach the maximum permitted time off water period.
|Species||Class of animal||Maximum time off water (hours)||Required Spell period (hours)|
|Cattle||Cattle over 6 months old||48||36|
|Calves 30 days to 6 month old||24||12|
|Lactating cows with calves at foot||24||12|
|Calves 5 - 30 days old travelling without mothers||18|
|Cows known to more than 6 months pregnant, excluding the last 4 weeks||24||12|
|Sheep||Sheep over 4 months old||48||36|
|Lambs under 4 months||28||12|
|Ewes known to be more than 14 weeks pregnant, excluding the last 2 weeks||24||12|
|Goats||Goats over 6 months old||48||36|
|Kids under 6 months||28||12|
|Goats known to be more than 14 weeks pregnant, excluding the last 2 weeks||24||12|
|Lactating Sows and Piglets||12||12|
The welfare of livestock during the transport process is a whole of supply chain responsibility, with saleyard operators having an important role and responsibility to ensure good
animal welfare outcomes.
Saleyard operators must ensure:
- Saleyard facilities (loading ramps, holding yards and pens etc) are well constructed and maintained.
- Water is provided to stock as required and feed and rest requirements are met for livestock under their control
- Livestock under their control are handled appropriately
- Weak, sick or injured livestock must be separated at the first reasonable opportunity for rest and recovery and appropriate treatment is arranged or where necessary, humane destruction is performed appropriately.
- Livestock being consigned from the saleyard are assessed as fit for the intended journey (fit to load).
You can find further information on animal welfare standards and guidelines below:
- Land Transport Standards
- Pig Welfare Standards
- Livestock Management Act 2010
- Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines
- Land Transport of Livestock Standards and Guidelines
- Land Transport Standards - Agents
- Bobby Calf Standards and Guidelines
- Livestock Management Standards - a Systematic Risk Assessment
Authored by: Dr David Champness, Principal Veterinary Officer, Biosecurity Victoria, August 2011.