1. Planning the consignment
Planning begins well before the export consignment and covers the entire live export chain, from preparation and sourcing of the livestock in Australia until the livestock have been unloaded in the importing country. Planning also includes the development of contingencies in the case of unexpected threats to the health and welfare of the livestock. An example of the pre-export planning process is below;
1. Notice of intent to export- Seek government approval of export destination and suitability of animals and contingency planning.
2. Produce an approved load plan and heat stress model- It must show compliance with regulated pen stocking density limits, as well as an assessment of suitability of stock, stocking density and deck by deck ventilation with prevailing weather conditions throughout the individual voyage.
3. National Vendor Declarations- These are submitted by vendors and contain details on the health status, description and health treatments of the livestock.
4. Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service inspection of vessel- This is required to ensure no risk of disease incursion into Australia. Every vessel is required to undergo inspection upon arrival in Australia.
5. Australian Maritime Safety Authority inspection of vessel- This is to ensure the vessel and its livestock support services (ventilation and water delivery) are mechanically sound and fit for purpose.
6. Pre-export aggregation facility licence- Each pre-export facility must be licensed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service as adhering to the standards set out by the Australian Government.
7. Livestock inspection by accredited third party veterinarian at the pre-export aggregation facility- This is the assessment of animal health and suitability of the livestock for export.
8. Livestock inspection by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service veterinarian at pre-export aggregation facility- This is the assessment of animal health and suitability of the livestock for export. Permission to leave for loading is granted upon satisfactory inspection.
9. Individual animal inspection by accredited stock inspector- Conducted at feedlot or wharf. Animals are inspected individually for sickness, injury and suitability for export. Any animal considered not fit for export must leave the wharf and be given appropriate treatment.
10. Export approval- Issued by Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service upon inspection of consignment and satisfaction that import permits have been granted and sufficient feed, water and ventilation are available to the livestock.
11. Accredited stockman on-board – Each voyage is accompanied by at least one, and often several, stockmen and stock women who have been accredited to oversee the animal welfare of the livestock consignment throughout the voyage.
12. Accredited third party veterinarian on-board- They are required for added level of animal care and welfare on long haul voyages to the Middle East only.
2. The selection and on farm preparation of livestock
The livestock exporter sources livestock in Australia that meets Australian and importing country health, welfare and commercial requirements. This may necessitate specific on-farm preparation of animals, including husbandry and animal health tests and treatments.
3. Land Transport
The initial land transport phase commences when the first animal is loaded onto a vehicle at the property of origin and ends when the last animal is unloaded at the premises approved or registered by AQIS. A second phase of land transport commences when the first animal is loaded onto a vehicle to leave the premises and ends when the last animal is unloaded at the embarkation port. Where the property of origin is also the premises, the land transport phase commences when the first animal is loaded onto a vehicle and ends when the last animal is unloaded at the embarkation port.
4. Pre-embarkation assembly
The pre-embarkation assembly of animals for export commences with the unloading of the first animal from the vehicle at the approved or registered premises and ends with the loading of the last animal onto the vehicle for departure from the premises, whether or not the animal is passed as fit for export.
5. Vessel preparation and loading the vessel
Vessel preparation includes selection and preparation of a suitable vessel to transport livestock overseas. Loading of the vessel is said to commence with the arrival of livestock at the port of loading. Loading ends when the last animal has been loaded onto the vessel and an export permit and health certificate is issued by AQIS. Loading includes an inspection of the livestock for health and fitness to travel at the port, before the animals are moved onto the vessel.
6. Sea/air voyage
On-board management covers the period from the time the first animal is loaded onto the vessel until the time the last animal is unloaded at the final port of disembarkation.
All livestock export ships comply with the following strict standards:
* Animals must have continual access to food and water throughout the voyage. Volumes are stipulated and checked prior to departure.
* Animals have space to walk around and lie down in their pens.
* Ventilation systems are to provide each deck of the ship with a full air change at least every two minutes.
* Highly trained, accredited Australian stockmen are present support the crew by providing care to animals throughout the voyage.
* A veterinary kit ensures adequate supplies of veterinary treatments if required.
* Animals that become sick are isolated and cared for in special ‘hospital’ pens.
7. Discharge process
When the ship docks, quarantine vets inspect all animals for illness and must sign-off on their health before they are unloaded. Technically, disembarkation commences with the unloading of the first animal and ends when the last animal is unloaded from the vessel. The Australian Government’s jurisdiction over the animals ceases when disembarkation is complete.
8. Post disembarkation/ Overseas facilities
After disembarkation, the health and welfare of the livestock is the responsibility of the importer, under the authority of the importing country. The animals then spend a short time in a feedlot, where they are well fed and closely monitored to ensure they are in top condition before going to market.
The Australian Government and the Australian livestock export industry are committed to furthering the health and welfare of livestock in importing countries. Improvements at all stages of the livestock handling chain are being achieved by the fostering of cooperation and goodwill, the sharing of Australian technical expertise, the provision of educational and training opportunities, and support for infrastructure.