Livestock and animal welfare

Livestock, Animal Health and Welfare

Animal owners have a legal responsibility under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to ensure the welfare of their livestock and companion animals. So, you are permitted to travel to attend to the welfare of your animals following strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. You must follow the rules in place on COVID-19 rules | NSW Government.

Can on-farm livestock sales, saleyards and food and fibre auctions operate?

An exemption was made to the Public Health Order regarding COVID-19 by the Minister for Health and Medical Research on 16th August 2021. These are:

  • An auction house in the Regional NSW can be open to members of the public for the purpose of an auction that is for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops.
  • A person can conduct an auction in the Regional NSW area that is open to members of the public for the purpose of an auction that is for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops.
  • A person can participate in an outdoor public gathering in the Regional NSW area for the purpose of an auction that is for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops.

Businesses should look at ways to minimise crowds and encourage the use of online platforms, or other arrangements for buying.

If an auction can be postponed, this should be considered.

We encourage the use of scheduled viewings to manage on-site numbers and reduce the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

Importantly, it is still expected that COVID-19 management requirements are adhered to by businesses conducting the auction as well as auction participants:

  • Businesses conducting an auction must have a COVID Business Safety Plan, the business registered as COVID Safe with this plan implemented at all times
  • Consider making participants pre-register to control numbers and manage risks
  • Auction participants must follow mask wearing rules which currently includes both indoor and outdoor workplaces, and that access to hygiene and cleaning is provided
  • Auction participants must follow physical  distancing at all times, or follow appropriate gathering square meter rules for outdoor or indoor (if applicable) *Note – Gathering exemptions have been granted for farms, commercial fishing vessels, saleyards, and food supply and fibre and crop auctions
  • Auction participants must follow check in requirements for all workers, visitors, contractors, etc. If the NSW Government QR code is not possible, business owners must be able to provide a full register of visitors as either an excel or csv file, within 4 hours if requested by authorities. This should be held onto for 30 days.
  • If the business is in LGAs of concern, you must follow the rules applied to worker testing and their movements.
  • Ensure auction participants are aware they must not attend if feeling unwell
  • Ensure auction participants seek testing immediately if unwell and isolate until they have a negative result
  • Follow instructions if the auction business is linked with a COVID-19 case

As regulations may change, all individuals should regularly check public health orders to ensure they understand their obligations. For further information, visit COVID-19 rules | NSW Government

Can I travel out of a lockdown area to care for livestock I own or manage?

  • As a livestock owner, you have a legal obligation to the welfare of those animals under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. ​
  • If you own or manage livestock on a rural property and need to undertake practices to ensure their welfare, you can do so following the Public Health Order rules including those applying to travel between Regional NSW and Greater Sydney.

Caring for Horses 

  • Restricted travel within LGAs and 5km radius removed. Travel for holidays between Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains) and Regional NSW are not permitted.
  • No distance limits for travel. Travel holidays between Greater Sydney (including Central Coast, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Blue Mountains) and Regional NSW are not permitted.