Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 3.3
Sourcing and preparation of livestock for export by sea

1.1.1 - Livestock sourced for export must meet all relevant animal health and welfare requirements under state and territory legislation and relevant requirements under national animal welfare standards and guidelines, and model codes of practice.

1.1.2 - Livestock sourced for export must meet importing country requirements.

1.1.3 - Livestock sourced for export must be:

  1. identified in accordance with state and territory and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) requirements; and
  2. traceable to the property of source; and
  3. accompanied by a correctly completed and signed movement records such as NVDs/waybills; and
  4. individually identified where testing, including pregnancy testing, is required during preparation, excluding feeder/slaughter sheep and goats where the pregnancy testing certification may identify animals to a mob-based level; and
  5. accompanied by any test results, including all pregnancy testing and spay declarations where applicable. Laboratory test reports must include the results of the testing undertaken and the below information in a single report:
    1. the NLIS identification number of the animal where individual identification is required by state or territory legislation,
    2. the PIC where the animal was sampled, and
    3. the visual tag number of the animal (if applied).

1.1.4 - Livestock sourced for export and intended for human consumption must comply with Australian food safety requirements, including standards for chemical residues or environmental contaminants.

1.1.5 - Livestock must not be sourced for export or exported unless dehorning and tipping wounds are fully healed prior to any transport.

1.1.6 - Livestock must not be sourced for export or exported unless they have been inspected by a competent stock handler and do not show signs consistent with the rejection criteria specified in Table 1, or any other condition that could cause the animal's health or welfare to decline during export preparation or transport.

Table 1 Rejection criteria for all species by sea

NB: For some rejection criteria, management procedures may occur after sourcing so livestock meet eligibility criteria at the time of export.


Rejection criteria

General requirements

  • Sheep wool or hair longer than 25mm*
  • Failure to meet importing country requirements including sex or breed if specified
  • Pregnancy status not confirmed as appropriate for export
  • Lactating animals/lactating animals with young at foot
  • Viral diseases such as scabby mouth or infectious bovine rhinotracheitis
  • Animals displaying clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease or external parasites
  • Animals showing signs of injury such as but not limited to fractures or swelling

Systemic conditions

  • Body condition score not appropriate for export (such as emaciated or over-fat)
  • Anorexia (inappetence or 'shy feeders')
  • Uncoordinated, collapsed, weak
  • Unwell, lethargic, dehydrated
  • Ill-thrift

Gastrointestinal system

  • Dysentery or profuse diarrhoea
  • Bloat

Musculoskeletal system

  • Abnormal gait or lameness of any kind
  • Abnormal soft tissue or bony swellings

Nervous system

  • Nervous symptoms such as head tilt, circling, incoordination
  • Abnormal or aggressive behaviour/intractable or violent


  • Generalised papillomatosis or generalised ringworm or dermatophilosis
  • Generalised and extensive buffalo fly lesions
  • Generalised skin disease or infection
  • External skin cancer
  • Lacerations that penetrate the full thickness of the dermis or are likely to affect the health or welfare of the animal
  • Discharging wounds or abscesses
  • Cutaneous myiasis (flystrike)
  • Balanitis (pizzle rot in sheep)
  • Blood/abnormal discharge from reproductive tract (vulva/prepuce)
  • Visible external parasites


  • Blindness in 1 or both eyes
  • Cancer eye
  • Keratoconjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Excessive salivation
  • Nasal discharge consistent with signs of a contagious or infectious disease
  • Coughing consistent with signs of a contagious or infectious disease
  • Respiratory distress or difficulty breathing
  • Sharp horns
  • Horns that could injure the animal or other animals
  • Horns that could restrict access to feed or water
  • Bleeding and/or not fully healed horn stumps or broken antlers
  • For sheep, horns longer than 1 full curl*
  • For cattle, horns longer than 12cm**
  • Scabby mouth


  • Groups of animals with unusual mortalities
  • Disparities in sex, size, weight or age that could cause an issue with the health or welfare of the animals (redraft animals in this case)

* unless otherwise provided in a relevant management plan approved by the department

** horns may be longer than 12 cm if they are pointing downwards parallel to the face or unless otherwise provided for in a relevant management plan approved by the department

1.1.7 - Female livestock must not be treated with a prostaglandin drug:

  1. within the 60 day period prior to export unless they have been pregnancy tested immediately before prostaglandin treatment and declared to be in the first trimester of pregnancy or not detectably pregnant; nor
  2. within 14 days prior to export.

1.1.8 - Animal records must be kept by the exporter, from the time of sourcing of livestock to their disembarkation in the importing country, and retained for at least 2 years after the date of export. These records must include details of:

  1. the animal's identification in accordance with state and territory and NLIS requirements including:
    1. all management procedures relevant to export preparation such as disease testing, pregnancy testing, shearing (to a mob/pen-based level), and date(s) undertaken; and
    2. all veterinary medicines and agricultural chemicals used to vaccinate or treat the animal (including species, treatment date(s), trade name or active ingredient, batch number, and if used according to manufacturer's directions. If not used according to manufacturer's directions, the dose administered is to be included); and
    3. any mortality, sickness, injury or other sign consistent with the rejection criteria found, and where applicable, actions taken to remove any rejected animals from the consignment, and the animal's handling, care, treatment, euthanasia and/or disposal; and
  2. inspections by veterinarians or competent stock handlers of livestock health, welfare and appropriateness for export; and
  3. all other information required to demonstrate compliance with relevant ASEL standards.

1.1.9 - Veterinary medicines, chemicals and equipment must be stored and used according to any applicable veterinary directions and/or manufacturers' recommendations.