17 December 2021
To clarify when immature bulls and steers can be penned together under the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) 3.2, standard 3.1.16 c).
- Under ASEL 3.2 standard 3.1.16 c), the option to pen together immature bulls and steers which have been socialised in the source mob was added. To support application of the standard, immature was defined in the ASEL as:
- an animal that has not reached sexual maturity and is not displaying secondary sexual characteristics typical for the species such as descended testes, signs of being in heat (oestrous), udder maturity or antlers. Typically, an immature animal is yet to exhibit behavioural changes such as dominance, riding, or aggression.
- The intention of this addition was to remove the need to palpate the scrotums of every prepubertal male cattle in order to determine if testes are present (or if the animal has been castrated), decreasing handling and reducing occupational health and safety related concerns for industry and departmental staff.
- Immature bulls are those whose testes are not visible in the scrotum i.e. still tight and tucked up. If the animal has testes that have descended to a point that they can be seen as cattle are standing, these animals are not considered immature bulls.
- Where immature bulls and steers are penned together, these must be from the same source property, which may be verified by Regional Veterinary Officers.
- On 18 November 2021, the department published ASEL 3.2.
- Following publication, feedback received indicated a need to provide further information on the penning of immature bulls and steers.
Animal Welfare Branch
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Phone: 02 6272 3642