Livestock exports

Australia is the world's leading supplier of high quality live cattle, sheep and goats to countries around the world, in particular throughout the Middle East and South-East Asia. 

Many countries across these regions do not have the resources or geography to efficiently produce enough livestock to feed their population. Australia meets the demand for essential red meat protein by exporting cattle and sheep for food production and breeding, as well as chilled and frozen meat products.

Transporting livestock 

Australia exports livestock by sea and air. The industry is recognised as having the world's highest animal welfare standards for livestock export. Australian live export operates under strict regulations and is committed to maintaining Australia's world leading reputation. Live exporters must be licensed by the Australian Government and livestock vessels must meet strict requirements governed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. These standards, along with strict regulation and the industry's commitment to caring for livestock on their voyages overseas, mean that over 99% of all Australian animals arrive fit and healthy at their destinations. 

Export destination facilities and livestock care 

At the export destinations, livestock are cared for by trained stockmen in feedlots where they have constant access to food, fresh water and shade. Australian animal welfare experts are based in export locations and regularly deliver animal welfare training and education programs and make improvements to infrastructure and livestock facilities. 

Livestock industry participants

In addition to providing much needed protein for global communities, the livestock export industry also supports the livelihoods of thousand of farming families and communities. The industry employs 13,000 people across rural and regional Australia and is worth $1.8 billion to the Australian economy. The industry is also vital in underpinning livestock prices for sheep, cattle and goat producers across Australia by providing an additional market for livestock. 

Industry partnership 

MLA and LiveCorp invest levies paid by Australian red meat producers and exporters into supporting and fostering the industry through the Livestock Export Program. The joint MLA and LiveCorp initiative invests in activities and tools to improve the trade both in Australia, onboard livestock vessels and overseas. 

The key topics the Livestock Export Program focuses on are: 

  • Livestock management and welfare 
  • Market access and trade development 
  • Supply chain improvements 

Regulatory framework 

The Australian Government introduced a new regulatory framework, the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), from October 2011. Under ESCAS, the exporter must provide evidence of compliance right through the supply chain before being issued with approval by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

More information

Phone: 1800 675 717 (option 9)

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