Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock 3.3
STANDARD 6 | 
Air transport of livestock

6.1.1 - 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.

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

6.1.3 - Livestock sourced for export must be:
An amendment to this standard will come into force on 3 April 2024.

  1. identified in accordance with state and territory and NLIS requirements; and
  2. be 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 results must be linked to the PIC from where the animal was sampled and the NLIS tag number of the animal where individual identification is required by state or territory legislation.

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

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

6.1.6 - 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 23, or any other condition that could cause the animal's health or welfare to decline during export preparation or transport. Livestock that become sick, injured or show signs consistent with the rejection criteria at any stage of export preparation must be removed from the consignment, and arrangements must be made for their prompt and humane handling, care, treatment, euthanasia and/or disposal, in compliance with all relevant and applicable legislation.

Table 23 Rejection criteria for all species by air

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

Category

Rejection criteria

General requirements

  • Failure to meet importing country requirements including sex or breed if specified.
  • Pregnancy status not confirmed as appropriate for export
  • Viral diseases such as scabby mouth or infectious bovine rhinotracheitis
  • Animals displaying clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease or of external parasites
  • Animals showing signs of injury such as but not limited to fractures or swelling
  • Evidence of imminent parturition

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

External/skin

  • 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

Head

  • 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-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

Other

  • 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 OR for cattle, horns are pointing downwards parallel to the face

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

6.1.7 - The land transport of livestock must meet the Land Transport Standards as well as any relevant animal health and welfare and road transport requirements under state and territory legislation and relevant requirements under national animal welfare standards and guidelines, and model codes of practice.

  1. Well-trained dogs may be used to help with the loading and unloading of livestock (other than camelids and deer). Dogs must be muzzled. The number of dogs used should be the minimum necessary to complete the task. Working dogs must not be transported in the same pen as livestock.

6.1.8 - The land transport of livestock must meet any importing country requirements for the land transport phases in the export supply chain.

6.1.9 - The maximum water deprivation time and minimum rest times specified for each species and class of animal equal to those set out in the Land Transport Standards must be adhered to. Water deprivation time begins at the time animals are curfewed prior to transport to the airport and calculations must include the time until the point animals are provided water again. Exporters must have a plan for managing water deprivation time and keep records (expected and actual water deprivation time) for at least 2 years after the date of export.

6.1.10 - Where a period of pre-export quarantine or isolation is required by the importing country, animals forming the consignment must at all times be physically isolated to prevent contact with all other animals as per the importing country requirements, including if the other animals are destined for the same export market but in a different consignment, an alternative export market, or domestic use.

6.1.11 - For livestock that are en route or at the airport but required to return to an approved premises or other premises:

  1. in addition to any requirements under the Land Transport Standards:
    1. if the journey from premises departure to premise return exceeds 6 hours, the livestock must be unloaded, fed, watered, and rested for a minimum of 12 hours prior to being reloaded for transport; or
    2. if the journey from premises departure to premise return exceeds 12 hours, the livestock must be unloaded, fed, watered, and rested for a minimum of 24 hours prior to being reloaded for transport; and
  2. the exporter must keep records of animal movements, time off food and water, and rest periods, and retain these for at least 2 years after the date of export.

6.1.12 - Livestock must be expediently loaded and unloaded at all stages of the export process by a sufficient number of competent stock handlers in a manner that prevents injury, minimises stress and ensures that livestock management and welfare needs are addressed.

6.1.13 - Livestock exported by air must be exported in compliance with the IATA Live Animal Regulations. Where there is a variance between the IATA Live Animal Regulations and these standards, ASEL applies.

6.1.14 - When calculating pen space allocation and penning livestock:

  1. accurate final weights of livestock must be obtained in view of the weight limitations imposed by the load capabilities of the aircraft and the space required per animal; and
  2. where the number of animals per crate calculated is not a whole number, decimal point 4 and below must be rounded down. Decimal point 5 and above can be rounded up if the resulting space allocation does not exceed a 5% decrease from minimum requirements; and
  3. the livestock must be able to stand normally, and once lying down should be able to regain their feet unaided and without undue interference from other animals; and
  4. when livestock stand normally, no part of the animal's body (including horns) must touch any overhead part of the crate including any supporting crossbars; and
  5. expected ambient temperatures and ventilation capacity at loading, transits, transhipments and unloading must be taken into account; and
  6. livestock must be penned with animals of the same species, class, sex and of a similar weight with the exception of the following categories where animals may be penned together:
    1. Females and castrated males, or
    2. Entire male and female alpacas if they have been socialised together in the source mob and they are less than 35kg at the time of loading for export from the approved premises or other premises used for export preparation; and
  7. where animals of unequal size are placed in the same crate, the crate must be divided so that they are penned separately; and
  8. where the total air export journey time scheduled is greater than 24 hours, the pen area per head must be increased by 10% (not cumulative with other requirements in Standards 6.2 to 6.10); and
  9. when livestock are loaded with mixed cargo in aircraft lower holds, the pen area must be increased by 10% (cumulative with other requirements in Standards 6.2 to 6.10).

6.1.15 - Pen space allocation and penning arrangements must conform to Standard 6.1.14 and the relevant species specifications in Standards 6.2 to 6.10 and with any relevant requirements, and applicable legislation. The exporter must comply with directions from an authorised officer in relation to pen space allocation to remove an animal or animals from a crate to ensure animal health and welfare and compliance with these standards.

Other requirements

6.1.16 - Livestock that are declared to be pregnant must not be tendered for transport to the airport unless accompanied by a veterinary certificate certifying that the animal is fit to travel and there is no evidence of imminent parturition at the time of loading for transport.

6.1.17 - Livestock must not be exported with young at foot, unless otherwise provided in a livestock with young at foot management plan approved in writing by the department.

6.1.18 - Livestock must not be exported:

  1. within 5 days of giving birth; or
  2. more than 5 days but less than 15 days of giving birth, unless otherwise provided in a livestock that have recently given birth management plan approved in writing by the department.

6.1.19 - 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.

6.1.20 - Miniature breeds of livestock and other light weight livestock that do not meet minimum liveweight requirements, must not be sourced for export or exported unless otherwise provided in a miniature breeds or light weight livestock management plan approved in writing by the department.

6.1.21 - 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 and shearing, and date(s) undertaken; and
    2. all veterinary medicines and agricultural chemicals used to vaccinate, treat or otherwise prepare 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
  2. any mortality, sickness, injury or other signs consistent with the rejection criteria found, and where applicable, actions taken to remove rejected animals from the consignment, and the animal's handling, care, treatment, euthanasia and/or disposal; and
  3. inspections by veterinarians or competent stock handlers of livestock health, welfare and appropriateness for export; and
  4. all other information required to demonstrate compliance with relevant ASEL standards.

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

6.1.23 - Prior to aircraft departure, the exporter must notify the airline and confirm they will notify the captain of the aircraft of the species, location, quantity, any special requirements and any aspect of preparation of the livestock for export that might affect their health or welfare, including ventilation requirements, during flight and any transit stops if relevant.

6.1.24 - [deleted]

6.1.25 - [deleted]

6.1.26 - Livestock must be checked by a competent stock handler appointed by the exporter to ensure they remain healthy and fit to travel for all flights:

  1. at the last reasonable opportunity before departure of the aircraft; and
  2. [deleted]
  3. at the first reasonable opportunity after landing, including during transit/transhipment stops; and
  4. at the last reasonable opportunity before departure, including during any transit/transhipment stops.

6.1.27 - During the air export journey, any livestock identified as being distressed or injured must, where feasible:

  1. be given prompt treatment; and/or
  2. be euthanased without delay as necessary; and
  3. arrangements must be made to remove or separate sick or dead livestock from pens carrying multiple animals in transit. If animals need to be unloaded, arrangements must be made to ensure the health and welfare of the animals.

6.1.28 - Feed and water must be provided to livestock while in transit if climatic conditions, species, class of livestock or total air export journey time warrant.

6.1.29 - Contingency plans for an air export journey, including procedures for contacting the exporter, must be prepared in writing for each consignment that address:

  1. unavailability of the aircraft to be used for the air transportation; and
  2. mechanical breakdown, including partial or full disablement of the ventilation system; and
  3. rejection of the consignment, by the importing country; and
  4. diversion and landing at a location different from the intended transit stop(s) or destination and how the welfare of animals will be overseen; and
  5. euthanasia on board the aircraft if a competent stock handler is accompanying livestock, if livestock are accessible and if it is safe to do so, or as soon as possible after unloading from the aircraft; and
  6. procedures for the humane recapture of livestock that escape during the loading process.

6.1.30 - The ventilation and temperature in the livestock hold must be adequate to maintain the health and welfare of the livestock at all times while livestock are in the aircraft.