2014-12 - Risk management for export of livestock by air

​​6 August 2014


To advise licensed livestock exporters of the completion of three reportable mortality investigations for livestock exported by air and changes to declarations required for livestock exports by air.


There have been three recent reportable mortality incidents involving the export of livestock by air which have been investigated by the Department of Agriculture.

The incidents have involved different livestock species, crate configurations and holds in the aircraft where the livestock were loaded. The reports of these investigations are available on the Department’s website.

While individual measures have been applied to address these incidents, the reports have reiterated the importance of exporters proactively managing risks during the planning and export process to minimise the risk of adverse animal health and welfare outcomes and ensure adequate ventilation is maintained in the aircraft when livestock are on board.

The department has worked with industry groups to identify a number of possible risks associated with the export of livestock by air which exporters are encouraged to consider when planning consignments:

  1. Waste management: Managing the diet before export (for example by curfew or dietary modification) can reduce the amount of waste excreted during export. Reduced waste production assists with reducing ammonia production and aircraft contamination.
  2. Stress: Handling animals in a low stress manner during the export process will minimise adverse animal health and animal welfare outcomes.
  3. Ventilation: The aircraft’s ventilation system must be adequate for the proposed consignment and functional at the time of export. Exporters may wish to use industry developed risk management software such as the Livestock Air Transport Safety Assessment (LATSA).
  4. Monitoring of livestock: Monitoring the health and welfare of livestock during the export process, including ground transport and loading, will assist to minimise the risk of adverse animal welfare outcomes.
  5. Crate design: The design of crates combined with the load plan may affect permeability and the suitable flow and distribution of ventilation to all livestock in a consignment.
  6. Choice of bedding: The choice of bedding in the crates can support absorption of wastes.
  7. Load plan: The load plan and crate configuration may interfere with the airflow through the hold to a level which may lead to adverse animal health and welfare outcomes.
  8. Transit: Periods of transit (particularly in hot humid climates) must be managed to maintain a suitable environment for livestock.
  9. Communication: The loadmaster must be informed of any special loading requirements (e.g. stocking density requirements specified in the conditions of approval). The Captain must be informed that live animals are being carried and any special requirements such as temperature, ventilation or lighting settings.

Exporters who require assistance with managing risks during the planning should seek assistance from relevant industry experts.


  1. Exporters are required to submit the attached declaration to the Department of Agriculture regional office, confirming that they have completed due diligence addressing the risks associated with transport of livestock by air, and that the aircraft’s ventilation system is adequate for the planned consignment and functional at the time of loading.
  2. The department may, during the assessment and export process or during an audit, require an exporter to provide evidence that due diligence has been undertaken to address the risks associated with transport of livestock by air and to confirm adequate ventilation of the aircraft. This may include a LATSA assessment.
  3. Completion of the Aircraft Lower Deck Checklist for Carriage of Livestock by Air and Carriers Main Deck Ventilation Declaration will no longer be required as a condition of approval for air consignments.

This will be effective from 1 September 2014 and will be reviewed after six months.

Jenny Cupit
Assistant Secretary
Live Animal Exports Branch

Contact officer: Kate Makin / Tim Naylor
Ph: (02) 6272 4581
Email: Livestock Exports

Attachment 1: Export of Livestock by Air - Export Due Diligence Declaration msword Word [55 KB]

Last reviewed: 28 April 2021
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