Australia has a long history of exporting breeder livestock. Our ability to supply a wide range of seed stock across species has been supported by large, healthy and disease-free livestock, often in coordination with regional, national or international development programs.


Livestock exported for the purposes of breeding are exempt from ESCAS. As breeder livestock are not slaughtered soon after they arrive in market (often many years after) and may move between facilities during their lifetime, exporters are unable to maintain reasonable traceability or ‘line of sight’ on those animals.

Australian exporters understand that there are welfare risks in supplying livestock to smallholder farming operations. Small holders are defined typically by the scale of operations and the type of participants, predominantly local farmers or small farmer cooperatives receiving between 1 and 100 head. These arrangements face a number of challenges including low nutritional value of readily available feeds, limited area of productive land, lack of financial resources and a lack of essential extension services.

In response to the unique challenges presented in supporting small holder poverty alleviation, farmer development and aid programs through the supply of breeder livestock, ALEC supports the following;

  • ALEC exporter members or their representatives undertake reasonable due diligence of the smallholder aid program’s capacity to deliver a consistent and acceptable standard of animal health, welfare and care
  • In partnership with the Australian Government, ALEC and Australian livestock exporters continue to advocate for slaughter in accordance with OIE standards
  • The Australian livestock export industry develops and promotes materials and / or resources that provide practical information about all aspects of animal welfare, including nutrition, reproductive health and housing, including appropriate slaughter methods, which is based on international OIE standards, in English and other relevant languages that can be made available to program managers and encourage their use and adoption
  • ALEC and its members advocate for the improvement of welfare initiatives for small holder programs in importing countries - this includes partnering with the Australian Government to actively deliver projects, provide resources and materials in aid recipient countries that promote continuous improvement in animal handling, animal health and slaughter through supporting essential extension activities, including infrastructure development.

Further information about the livestock export supply chain for breeder cattle to Indonesia can be found here: LiveCorp_Indonesian_Export_Roadmap_Jun15_DUOTONE_4-6-15.pdf

Our commitment to the welfare of animals doesn’t stop when Australian livestock leave our country or arrive in market. Under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS), livestock exporters’ responsibilities exist through to the point of slaughter.

Under ESCAS, livestock exporters must ensure livestock control and traceability throughout the entire supply chain. This ensures that livestock remain within an approved supply chain and provides assurance that the subsequent handling and slaughter is accordance with international animal welfare recommendations.

The introduction of ESCAS as well as the critical investment made by Australian exporters, foreign importers and importing governments has had a substantial impact on welfare outcomes for livestock exported from Australia.

Australia Exporters are also required to comply with the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL), which applies to the preparation of livestock for the voyage from farm through to on-board care, as well as State and Federal Government animal welfare regulations to assure the welfare of exported livestock.

Animal Welfare infographic