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Preparing livestock for transport

Planning and preparation are key to successful livestock transport for their intended journey. Sound preparation ensures livestock leaving one destination arrive at the next location in the best possible position to ensure:

  • driver welfare
  • animal welfare – avoiding stress, injuries, potential contamination or death
  • optimal recovery and weight gain - if going to a feedlot or new property
  • potential food safety risks from stressed, injured or contaminated livestock are reduced
  • customer expectations are met.

All people involved in planning a journey and mustering, assembling, handling, selecting, loading and transporting livestock have a responsibility for livestock welfare.

How to prepare livestock for transport:

  • Make sure all livestock are healthy and fit to load for the intended journey.
  • Check the preparation guidelines for the type and class of livestock.
  • Get livestock into the yards prior to the journey and feed good quality dry hay and clean water. Don’t run them in from the paddock as the truck is backing in to load – rested livestock with access to good quality dry hay and clean water travel best.
  • Review relevant Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the type of animal and location.
  • Carry out any husbandry procedures well in advance of transport. Don't carry out highly stressful activities just before loading, including crutching, dipping, drenching and dehorning. Ear tagging prior to loading for transport should be limited to those livestock that have lost a National Livestock Identification Scheme NLIS tag. Similarly, you shouldn’t be scanning livestock as you’re loading them onto the truck as this causes delays. Get tagging and scanning out of the way well in advance.
  • Prepare and manage documentation: Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) and any animal health declarations, transport records, and outgoing livestock movement records, including livestock exposed to physical or chemical contaminants – details available on Integrity Systems website
  • A range of new features are now available in the eNVD system (web and app) which make it easier for transporters to receive a digital version of the eNVD (rather than a printed copy)
  • Ensure specific requirements relating to the transportation for sale or slaughter of bobby calves have been met when filling out bobby calf NVD
  • Weigh and count livestock to ensure you can provide accurate weights and numbers to the transport company.
  • Ensure that management systems are in place to minimise risks to livestock welfare.

Biosecurity resources for livestock transport


Withholding periods (WHP) and export slaughter intervals (ESI)

Weaning management


Parasite management

Livestock owners are responsible for parasite control. Livestock should be fit to load and not infested prior to loading.

Further resources: