LIVESTOCK owners are obliged to ensure the welfare of all their stock, wherever the animals are located.
Agriculture Victoria veterinary officer Jeff Cave said to receive the full benefits of owning livestock it was essential to regularly check on the animals.
“This involves taking note of health status as well as food and water availability so that intervention can be taken if necessary,” Dr Cave said.
“Absentee livestock owners whose animals are kept on a more distant property are not absolved of responsibility for their animals’ welfare.
“There are options for absentee livestock owners to address potential gaps in their ability to supervise their livestock.
“They can make arrangements with neighbouring farmers or stock handlers who may be available to help monitor livestock.
“Ideally these arrangements should be recorded in writing to ensure clarity of responsibilities.”
Welfare benchmarks are discussed in more detail in the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines at www.animalwelfarestandards.net.au/
Dr Cave said the frequency of livestock inspections depends on many things, such as time of year, the class and type of stock.
“During calving or lambing, for example, pregnant animals should be ideally checked on a daily basis for signs of difficult labour.
“During conditions of extreme cold or heat, more frequent inspections may be required to mitigate the risk of cold stress on vulnerable livestock or to check available water supplies.”
Further general information can be found at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au and by contacting local Agriculture Victoria animal health staff.
For assistance with your specific circumstances, contact your regular veterinarian or farm adviser.