Regulation of hormone growth promotants (HGPs) for cattle in Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 16 May 2016 - 11:54am

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Hormone growth promotants (HGPs) are slow-release implants of naturally occurring hormones found in most animal and plant life. They are used to improve growth rates and feed efficiency in the beef cattle industry.

Effective from 16 June 2015 in Western Australia, it is a legal requirement for animals treated with an HGP to be permanently identified by a triangular ear punch mark applied to the centre of the ear. Producers are also required to use the national vendor declaration (NVD) to declare whether animals have been treated with an HGP.

What are HGPs?

An HGP is a supplement of naturally occurring hormone that stimulates growth. It is implanted under the skin on the back of the animal's ear, slowly releasing a low dosage over a period of time - usually 100 to 200 days.

Why are they used?

HGPs have been used in the Australian beef industry for over 30 years to improve the growth rate of cattle by converting feed to meat more efficiently.

Requirements for use in Western Australia

On 16 June 2015, the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) reintroduced regulation of HGPs under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013. This regulation was at the request of national industry and will support efforts to gain access to new international markets.

Key requirements
  • All cattle treated with an HGP must be permanently identified. Cattle are required to have a triangular ear punch mark (equal sided triangle with sides of 20 millimetres) applied to the centre of the ear. If the animal already has a registered earmark then the HGP triangular punch is used in the other ear.
  • The ear punch mark must remain permanently identifiable even if there is a change in ownership of the animal.
  • Producers are required to use a transport document (NVD) to declare that animals have not been treated with HGPs.
  • False declarations on the NVD are subject to penalties.

HGPs and international trade

Some high-value markets (such as Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt and Russia) are HGP sensitive. The regulation of HGPs is important to ensure that animals treated with HGPs do not enter these markets.


Peter Gray