Emergency Slaughter of Livestock as a Result of Bushfire

​​​​​Determine whether or not the animals are f​​it 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)

Meat and 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 anim​​als 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 arrangements.

If animals are not fit to​​ load​​

If the animals are not fit to load, on-farm emergency slaughter should only be ca​rried out within the approved Anima​l Welfare Guidelines.