Land Transport Standards for livestock agents

The Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines — Land Transport of Livestock, commonly referred to as the Land Transport Standards set out the requirements which livestock operators must comply with to ensure the welfare of livestock under their control.

These nationally agreed animal welfare standards and guidelines were developed cooperatively by the livestock industries and government. The standards and guidelines are based on the revision of the previous Model Codes of Practice for Welfare for the transport of various livestock species.

The Standards have been adopted into enforceable legislation under the Livestock Management Act 2010.

Livestock agents play an important role in the livestock supply chain and have an integral role in ensuring the welfare of livestock during the transport process.

Agents handle livestock on farm and in saleyards, arrange transport, and are often seen as source of information by their clients. They need to have a good understanding of the Standards in order to conduct their business in a responsible and professional way.

Key messages for agents

The welfare of livestock during transport is a whole of supply chain responsibility, with livestock agents having an important role and responsibility to ensure good animal welfare outcomes.

Livestock agents can assist in ensuring good practice and welfare outcomes during and after the transport process by ensuring:

  • Livestock prepared and selected for transport are fit for the intended journey
  • Livestock are handled, loaded, transported and unloaded in a manner that minimises risks to animal welfare
  • Longer journeys are planned to ensure the maximum time off water periods for the classes of livestock are complied with
  • Livestock are given an adequate spelling period (water, food and rest) in cases where the maximum time off water has been reached.
  • Weak, sick or injured animals are separated at the first reasonable opportunity for rest and recovery and appropriate treatment is arranged or where necessary, humane destruction is arranged and performed promptly.

Who do the Land Transport Standards apply to?

The Standards will apply to all persons (livestock operators) involved in the livestock transport process. Livestock operators include the consignor, transporter and receiver of livestock and will often include livestock agents, saleyard and feedlot operators and livestock processing plants.

The chain of responsibility for livestock welfare in the transport process is:

  • The consignor for the assembling and preparation of livestock, including the assessment and selection as 'fit for the intended journey', feed and water provisions, and holding periods before loading.
  • The transporter for the journey, which involves the loading, including final inspection as 'fit for the intended journey', the loading density, inspections and spelling periods during the journey, and unloading.
  • The receiver after unloading.

Livestock agents are involved in the following activities:

  • assembling, selection and drafting of livestock
  • assessment of stock as 'fit for the intended journey' (fit to load)
  • assisting with loading and loading density, and unloading
  • receiving livestock, either at saleyards, during a spelling period or on property

Agents will not always be the 'person in charge' during these activities, but they share the responsibility for animal welfare. Under Victorian legislation, agents will be classed as a livestock operator and must comply with the Standards.

What are my obligations as a livestock agent (livestock operator)?

The Livestock Management Act 2010 (LMA) requires all livestock operators involved in the livestock transport process to comply with the Livestock Transport Standards. There will be court penalties and/or infringements for those operators found to be in breach of the standards.

For further details of your obligations under the LMA and information on animal welfare standards and guidelines:

Page last updated: 08 Sep 2020