Transporting Livestock from seasonally dry areas
With some parts of the Kimberley and Pilbara experiencing above average temperatures and below average rainfall for the 2018/19 wet season, please remember that you may need to move livestock away from areas where feed sources are becoming inadequate. However, you must give careful consideration to whether animals are not strong enough to make the planned journey. If this is in doubt, they should be managed onsite.
The producer is primarily responsible for deciding which animals can be transported but transporters also have a role to play. Drivers are responsible for the welfare of the livestock on their vehicle for the entire trip. Ultimately, if there is any doubt about an animal’s ability to withstand the journey, it should not be transported.
To help make the correct decision, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has published two useful guidance documents – Welfare decisions for beef cattle and Welfare decisions for sheep. These documents show how to assess animals that are in body condition score 1 and decide whether they are suitable for transport. They also advise on managing such animals onsite.
In addition to the body condition score, it is important to take account of other factors relating to individual animals (e.g. pregnant animals or unweaned young), as well as the environmental conditions (e.g. very hot or dusty conditions) and the location and accessibility of handling and resting facilities.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (Act), animals that are unfit for a journey should not be transported. Transporting animals that are too weak to complete the journey is an offence under the Act and may be the subject of investigation by animal welfare inspectors.
By planning carefully and respecting legal requirements, producers and transporters can minimise the risk of animal welfare problems.