Last updated: 21 May 2020 2:20pm
DPI has received several requests from animal owners to clarify whether or not certain animal transport is considered a reasonable excuse to leave home under the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 2) 2020 (the order).
Under the order, a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave home.
The order provides examples of reasonable excuses including:
Note ‘work’ includes work undertaken as a volunteer or for a charitable organisation, such as for an animal shelter or wildlife rehabilitation group.
Animal Health Australia has a variety of information available to assist animal owners deal with COVID-19.
The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has information on COVID-19 and domestic animals and the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment has information about COVID-19 and wildlife rescue.
In NSW animal owners and carers have an obligation under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA) to provide food, water, shelter and veterinary care to their animals. In addition the owners of some animals must meet prescribed standards of care under POCTA, the Exhibited Animals Protection Act 1986 and the Animal Research Act 1985.
The NSW Government has issued guidelines allowing people to go outside and exercise.
Undertaking exercise, including riding a horse or walking a dog, is a reasonable excuse to leave home.
Any form of exercise is to be undertaken in compliance with the Public Health Orders, meaning that people must not participate in groups greater than 10 persons in a public place. All government restrictions, social distancing and hygiene measures must be followed.
You can enjoy daily exercise, walk or ride animals and spend time among nature, but it’s important to follow current health orders and stay in your local area when you do go out.
Further information on using public spaces by visiting the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment webpage.
You may leave home to transport a horse, dog, cat or other companion animal:
Reasons for leaving home to care for an animal and ensure its welfare includes:
If you are transporting a horse to sell or transfer physical ownership you MUST adhere to the following conditions:
If you are transporting a puppy, kitten, dog, cat or other pet to sell or transfer physical ownership you MUST adhere to the following conditions:
In any case, if you are in quarantine for coronavirus you must follow the direction of health authorities and stay at home.
Animal facilities can continue to operate if they treat or care for sick animals or rescue abandoned or injured animals.
You should maintain appropriate physical distancing and sanitisation measures.
In response to industry discussions surrounding meat processing plants, SafeWork NSW, NSW Health and DPI have developed an Animal Welfare and Business Continuity Self-Assessment (PDF, 292.03 KB). This checklist has been prepared in conjunction with the Workplace Health Management Plan Template (PDF, 505.55 KB) to assist food processing plants and manufacturing businesses prepare for and manage the impacts of a disruption on the business and its processing operations.
The Animal Welfare and Business Continuity Self-Assessment (PDF, 292.03 KB) has been developed to assist food processing plants and manufacturing businesses to implement adequate planning and risk mitigation measures to ensure that the welfare of the animals for which they are responsible is not jeopardised in the event of a disruption to the business and its processing operations.
The current spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19 is a result of human to human transmission.
A very small number of cases involving spill-over to animals, from people infected with COVID-19, have been reported. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) advises that currently there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected with SARS CoV-2 from humans play a role in the transmission of the virus.
Recent research suggests cats and ferrets are more susceptible to infection. However, to date, there is no evidence that animals have contributed to the spread of the disease, and therefore there is no justification in taking measures against animals which may compromise their welfare.
For current advice concerning managing the risks associated with animals in mass care or group settings, such as animal shelters, boarding facilities, zoos, and research facilities, where their exposure history to people with COVID-19 is unknown, read Animals in Mass Care & Group Settings Advice Summary (PDF, 709.83 KB).
When handling and caring for animals, basic hygiene measures should always be implemented. This includes hand washing before and after being around or handling animals, their food, or supplies, as well as avoiding kissing, licking or sharing food.
More information can be found by visiting the OIE website.
No jurisdiction has expressed an intention to restrict the movement of essential goods and services.
Agriculture and related industries are classified as essential industries and access to feed, fodder and transport will be maintained.
Supermarkets are classified as essential services and will continue to stock companion animal feeds even in the event of tighter restrictions.
Our animals rely on us. Remember it is your responsibility to protect the welfare of animals in your care at all times.
If you own or care for animals, it is important to plan ahead and consider a range of factors that will reduce the risk of animal welfare issues that may occur during a human health pandemic.
Food production and supply is an essential service.
Any person who operates or is employed by a beekeeping business has a reasonable excuse to leave their home for the purpose of work.
All beekeepers in NSW have a legal obligation to maintain their hives in a biosecure manner at all times and you might need to travel to fulfil this legal obligation and manage your hives.
This could include but is not limited to carrying out brood inspections, feeding, requeening and other beekeeping activities that are required to ensure hives remain healthy and free from serious diseases like American foulbrood.
We recommend you carry a copy of your current DPI issued certificate of beekeeper registration when travelling in case you are questioned while on the road. You may also wish to print this advice and carry a copy with you. You can obtain a copy of your certificate of beekeeper registration by emailing email@example.com.