Livestock Welfare at Saleyards
Fact Sheet – For Saleyards
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Farmers, agents, drovers, transporters should ensure and owners should:
- Select only fit, healthy livestock for travel and sale as per the Code of Practice.
- Ensure animals that are not fit to load (eg injured, down, diseased or emaciated) are yarded separately and appropriate action is taken. These animals should be handled humanely.
- Be competent to work with livestock and have an understanding of livestock behaviours to minimise stress to animals.
- Arrange feed for stock if off feed for more than 24 hours (includes transport time)
- Time off feed for pregnant or young animals should be considerably less than this
- In the absence of the owner/agent, such arrangements should be made with the saleyard manager
- Owner includes vendor or purchaser depending if pre- or post sale.
- 'Flappers' or 'metallic rattles' can be used sparingly when needed to encourage movement of animals. Beating of animals is not accepted.
- The use of yellow electric prodders should be a last resort.
- Dogs must be effectively prevented from biting (ie. muzzled), be supervised at all times and be secured when not working.
- Dogs must not be used to move pigs or calves.
Good stockpersons are flexible in their approach to livestock management and handling and adapt to the needs of different animals and circumstances.
Saleyard Superintendents and staff
Saleyard superintendent - the person in charge of any livestock saleyard:
- Has the power to humanely destroy under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act animals within the municipal district where the saleyard is located.
- Has overall responsibility for the welfare, care and handling of animals at saleyards.
- The feeding, watering and regular inspection of all animals when not in care of owner or owner's appointed agent.
- Prompt veterinary attention or euthanasia for diseased, sick or injured animals and the removal of carcasses from saleyards.
- Timely response to emergency situations.
- Workers have a high standard of stock handling and receive appropriate training.
- Cruelty or ill-treatment of animals is not tolerated.
Responsibilities when transporting
- Careful planning of the journey to prevent any adverse effects on animals.
- Allow adequate time for stock to be loaded in a calm, patient and considerate manner.
- Transport vehicle should be clean, appropriate for livestock being transported and in good repair to minimise injury.
- Animals should be sorted prior to loading – appropriate classes of livestock penned together.
- Animals are not lifted by the head, horns, legs or wool during loading or unloading.
- An initial inspection is carried out not later than 30 minutes after commencement of journey and every two hours thereafter.
- Guidelines regarding journey duration and rest stop times - as per Code of Practice - are observed.
- Animals are unloaded as soon as possible after arrival at their destination.
AUTHORS: BEN FAHY, AHO.