17 October 2019

The new Fit to Load Guide is essential reading for everyone involved with transporting livestock. 

A new updated Fit to Load Guide has been released by Meat & Livestock Australia in July this year. The guide helps producers, agents, buyers and transporters of livestock to assess if an animal is fit to be transported. The 2019 edition of the guide includes new information on best practice animal welfare when preparing, loading and transporting cattle, sheep and goats.

The updated guide has new information on:

  • roles and responsibilities for consignors and transporters
  • clearer checklists to assess whether an animal is fit to load
  • managing effluent
  • loading densities
  • requirements for transporting bobby calves
  • using firearms or captive bolt for euthanasia.

RSPCA worked with MLA, as the coordinating body, and other animal welfare and industry groups to develop the new guide. While we are pleased with the new guide and will be assisting to promote it, we have concerns about transporting bobby calves from dairy farms at five days old. This does not align with RSPCA policy and best practice animal welfare and we will continue to work with industry groups to address bobby calf transport.

Overall, the guide helps everyone involved with transporting livestock to meet the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock. These Standards are in place in all Australian jurisdictions with implementation still in progress in Western Australia. However, under the Animal Welfare Act 2002, a person in charge of an animal is cruel to an animal if the animal is transported in a way that causes or is likely to cause unnecessary harm. It’s important to take extra care transporting animals if they are sick or injured.

Access the guide here