Alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid, resembling a small llama in appearance. Alpacas were first introduced into Australia in 1989.
By 2001 there were approximately 40,000 alpacas in Australia. Alpacas in Australia are generally farmed for their fine fleece, but they are also used as guard animals for sheep flocks. Generally, alpaca herds in Australia consist of ten or fewer animals.
Legislation, regulations and standards
In addition to seeking advice from professional advisers, a person in charge of alpacas should be aware of the various Codes of Practice, which set out the minimum husbandry standards for various animal species, or for animals subject to procedures where their welfare may be at risk.
The Alpaca Advisory Group are developing a national 'Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Alpacas'. This will set minimum standards (recommended best practice) for the husbandry and welfare of alpacas.
National standards for the transport of Alpaca's are set out in the Australian Standards for the welfare of animals - Land Transport. These Standards are regulated under the Livestock Management Act 2010.
For more information read the Australian Standards for the welfare of animals – Land Transport.
Management for alpaca owners
There are specific requirements for the general management and transport of Alpacas. Here you will also find information about the agistment of alpacas after bushfire.
For further information about general livestock management during times of emergency please refer to our Emergencies section.
Forward planning will greatly reduce the amount of animal and human suffering in any emergency situation. The following information is offered as the basis of a plan to plan and cope with floods, drought and other situations.
Property Identification Codes
If you have livestock you are required by law to have a PIC for the properties on which you graze livestock. Livestock are: cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, alpacas, llamas, deer, horses, camels or more than 50 poultry or 10 emus or ostriches.
The term poultry, in this instance, refers to domesticated fowl, chickens, ducks, geese, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeons, quail or pheasants. All livestock businesses (saleyards, cattle scales, abattoirs, knackeries and stock agents) must also have a PIC. Horse owners running horses on their own property and owners of properties where horses are agisted are also required to have a PIC.
Vendors selling livestock species on-line or in print media are now required to include the PIC of the property at which the livestock are kept in any advertisement for the sale (including giving away or bartering) of those livestock. An alternative is to include the name and contact details of the livestock agent in the advertisement.
Health and welfare of alpacas
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation aims to prevent cruelty to animals, encourage the considerate treatment of animals and improve community awareness about the prevention of cruelty to animals. Provisions relating to alpacas include requirements to provide proper and sufficient food, water, shelter and veterinary treatment and offences for causing pain or suffering to an animal, whether intentionally or through neglect.