The entire livestock export supply chain from on-farm preparation to point of slaughter is regulated and controlled by the Australian Government under two main regulatory systems, The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) and The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).



Under the laws and regulations that control the activities of Australian livestock exporters, exporters must comply with a range of stringent requirements that include:

  • Exporters must be licensed by the Australian Government
  • Livestock must be selected, prepared and cared for in compliance with legislated animal welfare standards
  • Livestock must only be prepared in Australian Government-approved quarantine premises, known as registered premises
  • Skilled personnel including industry-accredited stockpersons, and in some cases government approved veterinarians, must accompany and care for the livestock on the voyage (via sea and air).
  • Livestock export vessels must hold an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock issued by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
  • Exporters must maintain control, traceability and ensure animal welfare of livestock from discharge through to the point of slaughter in their supply chains
  • Facilities in exporter supply chains must be independently audited on a regular basis in line with the government’s auditing and risk management requirements
  • Exporters must report on the outcomes of each voyage, including mortalities, which are then reported on a six-monthly basis to the Australian Parliament. If mortalities exceed legislated levels, a comprehensive investigation is undertaken and conditions may be placed on future shipments to mitigate risks
  • Exporters must provide the Australian Government with an end of processing (EOP) report (within 10 days of the slaughter of the last animal within a consignment for cattle and buffalo). An exporter must also submit an independent performance audit report (IPAR).


The Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System was introduced in August 2011 and rolled out across all markets by the end of 2012.

ESCAS is a set of regulatory conditions placed on exporters which requires exporters to have commercial arrangements with supply chain partners to provide humane treatment and handling of livestock from arrival in the importing country up to the point of slaughter. The specific regulatory requirements can be found in the Export Control (Animals) Order 2004 (Cth).

It places the responsibility on exporters to ensure the welfare of exported feeder and slaughter livestock along the entire post discharge supply chain in overseas markets through to the point of slaughter.



The Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) outline the animal health and welfare requirements for the livestock export industry from farm to the discharge of animals in the country of export.

There is a lot of detail in ASEL about how exporters must care for livestock along the livestock export chain to discharge including planning the consignment, transporting livestock from farm to registered premises to port, and vessel preparation. 

2020-23 - Notification of changes to ASEL 3.0 – cattle by sea and all livestock by air updated 27 October 2020 are available to view and download here.

More information on ASEL can be found on the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment website here