Animal welfare groups call for tougher livestock laws

Animal welfare groups want tougher livestock transport laws introduced immediately, claiming existing regulations are insufficient

By Ruza Zivkusic | November 5, 2010

Animal welfare bodies are calling on the Primary Industries Ministerial Council (PIMC) to push states to implement tougher laws for livestock transport.

They want the new guidelines on the long-haul transport that were implemented over a year ago to be put in action because the mass movement of sheep from drought-affected Western Australia to the eastern states is "not good animal welfare".

Animals can currently go without food and water for 48 hours while transported.

Animals Australia’s Executive Director Glenys Oogyes says there is a national set of code standards and practices that are due to be enforced in each state over the next year.

"The current standards are currently too low, which allows cattle and sheep to be transported for up to 48 hours," Oogyes says.

"A number of farmers concerned have contacted us from the west of Victoria indicating trucks are arriving with up to 50 dead sheep because of the conditions.

"There are hundreds of thousands of sheep coming from Western Australia to the eastern states and it is of real concern, some of the transporters have indicated that the journey even when using two drivers can be up to 48 hours, it’s common practice to curfew cattle and sheep before they transport it."

RSPCA’s scientific officer for farm animals, Melina Tenson, questions why the code standards have not yet been enforced.

"The various transport codes for different livestock species was reviewed and in 2009 it was endorsed by the PIMC; from there the intention is that each state and territory be implemented into the relevant legislation," she adds.

Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) President David Smith says most transport carriers are aware of the proposed laws and are already abiding by them.

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