Determine whether or not the
animals are fit for transport.
Fit-to-load standards are contained in the Australian
Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock and are
legally enforceable if stock are to be
transported; even in a natural disaster, these standards apply.
Animal Welfare Guideline - Land Transport of Livestock (PDF 1Mb)
Livestock Australia has published a handy guide called "Is it fit to
load?" as a companion to the Australian
Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines - Land Transport of Livestock.
Is it fit to load? (PDF 2Mb)
Producers should use these standards, guidelines and guides to assess
whether stock are fit to load.
If animals are fit to load
If, and only if, the animals are fit to load,
immediate slaughter at an abattoir may be a good option for stock management
after a bushfire. Factors that need to be considered when assessing burnt
livestock include: immediate and long term welfare of the animals, severity of
burns or injuries, impact of injuries on productivity, availability of feed and
water, facilities available for sustained care of the animals and the owners
capacity and willingness (physically, emotionally and financially) to provide
ongoing care and reassessment of burnt animals.
Livestock showing signs of obvious distress should
be immediately treated by a veterinarian or humanely euthanased. If an animal’s condition deteriorates, it
will need to receive veterinary treatment or be humanely destroyed.
Please check stock
carefully in order to assess whether the animals should be immediately
euthanased on farm, transported for abattoir slaughter, or retained on farm for
nursing if sufficient nursing resources are available.
Not all abattoirs have the capacity to accept large numbers of injured stock
for slaughter. Please notify the abattoir before loading stock to ascertain the
availability of services. Livestock agents may also be able to facilitate
If animals are not fit to load
If the animals are not fit to load, on-farm emergency slaughter should
only be carried out within the approved Animal Welfare Guidelines. The section relating to the humane on-farm slaughter is found towards the end of those welfare guidelines.