New code sets out principles of sheep and beef cattle welfare

25 June 2010

The Sheep and Beef Cattle Code of Welfare, issued today by the Minister of Agriculture, encourages all farmers to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling. Developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), the code applies to all sheep and beef cattle farmed for meat rather than being milked and covers all aspects of stock management.

NAWAC Chairman John Hellstrom says the code focuses on outcomes for animals and recommended best practices that show farmers how to keep ahead of minimum standards.

"The new code reinforces the welfare outcomes all good farmers want for their animals, and without being prescriptive, it points farmers to best practices."

"There has been a culmination of a lot of hard work in developing the new code and that reflects the proactive stance on animal welfare taken by all involved and the industry should be in a good position to feel confident that farmers can step up to the mark and comply with this code".

This is the third pastoral species code of welfare and minimum standards cover:

  • stockmanship and animal handling;
  • daily food and water requirements;
  • requirements for adequate shade and shelter;
  • feeding pads and feedlots;
  • managing flystrike;
  • requirements for shearing, dagging and crutching;
  • effective prevention and treatment of any ill health, injury and disease;
  • requirements around pre-transport selection of animals;
  • humane destruction procedures.

The code was drafted by a group designated by NAWAC and was reviewed by representatives of farmers, the meat and wool industries, veterinarians and animal welfare organisations. NAWAC considered the views of these groups, and members of the public, before recommending to the Minister of Agriculture that the code be issued.

Because sheep and beef cattle are frequently managed together on the same land (and because there are a lot of commonalities between the factors affecting the welfare of sheep and cattle) combining their requirements into a single code was chosen.

The Animal Welfare (Sheep & Beef Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010 is available online at or by request from

Issued by:
Lisa Gibbison
Senior Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 894 0432 or 029 894 0432



Last Updated: 22 September 2010

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