Outdoor activities and animal welfare

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.

Abattoirs and the meat processing industry

NSW Health in consultation with SafeWork NSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries developed an Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the meat processing industry to raise preparedness in the event of an outbreak.

The Incident Action Plan and Guideline provides the detail about how business can prepare for and prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 and how a local health authority will engage with the business.  Meat processing facility Incident Action Plan for a confirmed case of COVID-19 

Positive COVID-19 cases are reported directly to local Public Health Units (PHUs), who will follow up with the initial confirmed case and if it includes a workplace regarding staff or patrons, contact the premises.

The Animal Welfare and Business Continuity Self-Assessment and the Workplace Health Management Plan Template , are available to support the meat processing industry.

Also visit the NSW Government website for resources and guidance for abattoirs and the meat processing industry to help create and maintain a safe working environment for staff, customers and community.

Please see below some advice on Frequently asked Questions regarding animal health and welfare during this time.

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 requirements. This includes always wearing a mask, always following social distancing requirements and whilst travelling, only stopping for essential purposes. If you are a business, you should consider having an Agriculture COVID Safe Business Plan.

If you have any symptoms, do not travel. You are also required to follow testing requirements for workers who leave the restricted movement areas. Your cooperation to keep regional communities safe, is required.​

You should travel with evidence of the property you are travelling to. This may include a Local Government rates notice, Local Land Services rate notice or some form of primary producer declaration or business document.

Can I leave home to get my pet groomed?

Owners of vulnerable pets that require grooming have a reasonable excuse to leave their residences to obtain pet grooming services. The pet is vulnerable if its hair has started to matt.

A pet owner who lives in LGA's of concern can take their vulnerable pet to a salon in their affected LGA or obtain the services of a mobile pet groomer who lives in the same LGA.

Can I provide pet grooming services?

Pet groomers may continue to provide services following all COVID safety arrangements.

People who live in LGA's of concern can only leave their residence to attend work outside of their LGA if they are an authorised worker. An authorised worker includes a worker working in animal welfare, care and accommodation services but excludes pet grooming unless there is an immediate animal welfare reason.

‘Immediate animal welfare reason’ appears to require that the animal requiring grooming is either currently suffering (e.g. matted hair causing pain) or about to suffer (e.g. matted hair starting to cause irritation) unless the pet is groomed immediately.

Can I leave home to take my pet to the vet?

Owners of pets that require veterinary treatment have a reasonable excuse to leave their residences to obtain veterinary services.

A pet owner who lives in LGA’s of concern, can take their pet to a veterinary practice in their affected LGA. If the LGA does not have a veterinary practice, they should seek services from the nearest possible vet practice.

Outdoor activities

Can I go fishing and hunting in a restricted movement zone?

Fishing, including from a boat, and hunting for exercise, or outdoor recreational activity is an approved activity as a reasonable excuse to leave home, as long as people follow all other advice in relation to current public health orders, maintain social distancing and not leave the restricted movement area.

For further information, visit Additional restrictions for NSW | NSW Government

Please check the latest information on restricted movement areas before commencing your exercise or outdoor recreational activity.

As well as strictly following hygiene & social distancing guidelines, all fisheries rules and regulations continue to apply in NSW, including bag and size limits. For more information visit the NSW DPI Fisheries website.

Can I attend to my bees?

This will depend on whether you are a recreational or commercial beekeeper.

Recreational operators are required to adhere to the Public Health Order and stay at home. Given the current health risks, there is nothing in the NSW Biosecurity Act that compels recreational beekeepers to breach, or be exempt from, the Public Health Order.

Commercial operations can conduct their business in accordance with the Public Health Order, as a reasonable excuse to leave home in the restricted movement area. Businesses should:

  • Have a COVID Business Safety Plan and ensure your workers follow this when on duty
  • Whilst travelling outside of the restricted movement areas, only stop for essential reasons such as rest stops, meal breaks, fuel, necessary supplies, or an emergency, and wear a mask while travelling.
  • Follow all requirements for workers moving from restricted movement areas. This information may change regularly, and you should review frequently to ensure your business is complying. This includes mandatory testing and digital record keeping of workers and their movements.