Live Export Standards Review

Live Export Standards Review

The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) are currently under review and RSPCA has high expectations better animal welfare will be the result.

The standards set out the requirements to ensure livestock are fit to export and likely to maintain their health and welfare status throughout the export voyage.

The review process will be chaired by former Federal Senator and veterinarian Dr Chris Back and committee members include animal welfare experts, regulation specialists and livestock export industry experts.

We expect the new standards will make the desperately needed improvements to conditions for animals, based on science and community expectations, especially in the areas of:

  • the provision of extra space and bedding. Current stocking densities force animals to lie down on top of each other and jostle for access for feed and water,
  • stopping transportation of animals to the Middle East mid-year when temperatures are consistently above 40 degrees, and
  • a requirement for competent and independent vets to be on-board to oversee the health and welfare of animals.


While RSPCA looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the review of ASEL, we will continue to advocate for a chilled or frozen meat only trade which is better for the animals and better for the Australian economy, including producers.

Live export ship inspections in WA

In November 2017, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan spoke at the National Live Export Conference in Perth. She said older ships which do not meet modern standards should not be able to carry animals and the State Government would take a bigger role in monitoring animal welfare on live export vessels.

Ms MacTiernan said there should be a level playing field for all export companies and allowing exporters to use older ships disadvantaged exporters who have invested in more modern ships.

It has been the case that animals on board ships are under federal jurisdiction but the Minister said she obtained advice from the Solicitor-General that, with regard to animals on live export ships, State animal welfare laws would not be inconsistent with Federal law. Therefore, it would be reasonable to expect that State-based livestock inspectors could be involved in overseeing those federal laws.

But when the State Government tried to inspect the Bader 3 at Fremantle Harbour, the inspectors were blocked from going on the ship by the exporter, Livestock Shipping Services, who said they had no legal authority to board.

RSPCA WA supports the actions of the State Government. Simply pulling up the gangplank and hiding behind specious arguments over who has jurisdiction to inspect livestock carriers does nothing at all to allay public concerns about animal welfare in the industry. It only raises the questions of – what are they hiding?

The Minister is simply seeking to ensure that State animal welfare regulations are complied with, a response that is wholly proportionate to the high level of risk inherent in the live export industry. 

If exporters wish to export from the State of Western Australia, then they have to comply with the law in Western Australia. 



  • Brian Snyman:

    29 Mar 2018 21:31:18

    I am very anti live export no matter what improvements are made to the system. Whilst I do appreciate the animals’ welfare in transit being looked into and hopefully continually improved, what about the welfare of the animal when it reaches its slaughter destination and the slaughter process for the animal? As we know there has been horrific footage of unbelieveable cruelty in so called approved abattoirs in Indonesia, Asia and the Middle East.
    It’s all well and good trying to provide these animals with a comfortable journey en route to their horrible destination but what more is being done to ENSURE these animals are being processed in Australian inspected and certified abattoirs to accepted international and Australian standards? This for me is the bottom line. To see footage of a cow tied up in Vietnam and its head being bludgeoned with a sledgehammer is absolutely sickening. Or sheep bundled into the boot of a car and then mistreated before being slaughtered in the street. Disgusting.

    Which Australian farmer wishes to see this happen to one of their beautiful animals? Perhaps a farm representative can accompany the shipment and ensure the cattle / sheep he/she has raised meet their fate in an acceptable and humane manner.

  • Tonia:

    28 Apr 2018 15:38:57

    The fact that they dont allow inspectors on ships says it all ,stop sending these animals on these discusting ships ,with people who have no regard for animals and welfare ,Even if thet survive horrific journey it is even worse to come when they arrive at other end ,Farmers have no regard for their animals otherwise they would at least be spared those horrendous journeys and be send over as frozen meats ,We can only hope that killing horrendous as it is would be more humane in our own country and send it over as frozen meat ,at least if they hack them there our animals are at least frozen

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