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Livestock Export Ships

Learn about what goes into loading the ship

The livestock will be loaded from the truck to the ship using a ramp.


Exporting live animals is currently a legal, highly regulated and ethical practice, despite Australian exporters having made the export industry more humane, activists have tried to ban it.

We are not only one of the largest exporters, but we also have the highest standards for animal welfare.

In August 2011, two bills went to the Australian Parliament to end live export due to inadequate animal welfare. The Parliament rejected both of them.

For more videos and personal stories about what happens during a voyage check out our social channels and see our Virtual Tour of a live export ship!

How many people are there looking after the livestock?

There are trained crew members on board who look after the animals while on the journey.

They are given enough space to eat, sleep and move around on the ship.


A voyage can be between 3-14 days.

What happens during a voyage?

The last thing the industry wants is for an animal to die or suffer during any part of the supply chain.


It’s an emotionally and financially wrenching outcome that all areas of the supply chain seek to avoid at all costs.

Peter explains the daily routine of the crew looking after the livestock on a voyage.

The ESCAS Guidelines

Australian livestock exporters face many intricacies when it comes to exporting livestock from Australian shores.

All Australian exporters must follow the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).


Our Australian livestock handling standards are then secured into International markets through the ESCAS system which allows us oversight of our livestock through their entire journey.

Watch this video to learn more.

ESCAS requires consistency and conformity up to the point of slaughter.

It puts animal welfare at the forefront of the export trade, ensuring consistent and humane standards. These guidelines make the export industry safer and more compassionate for Australian livestock.

Australia has also invested in training staff from other countries in the latest safe animal handling techniques so that when livestock arrive in their new destination they are being handled in a way that is familiar and calming for them.

The four core principles of ESCAS include:

Animal Welfare

Importing countries need to follow the recommendations of the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Supply Chain Control

Exporters must retain control of the entire supply chain, including transportation, management, and slaughter.

Traceable Livestock

Exporters must trace each animal from the beginning to the end of the supply chain.

Independent Audits

Importing countries have the power to audit the process independently.

Want to learn more about regulations?

To continue the best possible health and welfare practices for our livestock, exporters must adhere to many strict regulations set out by Australian State and Federal government systems.


Head to our Resources page or visit the Department of Agriculture website here

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Click here to continue your live export journey

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