Exporting livestock

​To export livestock, licenced exporters must have:

  • an approved arrangement (or an exemption as a small and infrequent exporter)
  • an approved export program (AEP)
  • and, if exporting feeder/slaughter animals, an approved exporter supply chain assurance system (ESCAS).

Exporters must ensure they have an approved arrangement and an AEP approved for the current ASEL to export livestock from 1 November 2020. 

For each consignment, exporters must also submit:

  • a Notice of Intention to export (NOI)
  • other export documentation in line with the exporter’s approved arrangement, regulatory and importing country requirements.

Approved arrangements

An approved arrangement is an agreement between us and a livestock exporter. They allow for a streamlined export certification process.

Approved arrangements set out the operations which, when correctly applied by a livestock exporter, effectively manage the preparation and certification of livestock exported from Australia.

This approach is consistent with other export commodity approved arrangements.

Read more about the application and approval process for approved arrangements.

Approved export program

Livestock exporters must have an approved export program (AEP) containing instructions for any Australian Government Accredited Veterinarian (AAV) they engage.

An AEP is a program of activities to be undertaken by an AAV, or an authorised officer, for the purpose of ensuring the health and welfare of eligible live animals, or the health and condition of eligible animal reproductive material, in the course of export activities.

The activities performed by an AAV may take place while preparing animals for export through to their disembarkation in the importing country. They may include:

  • monitoring the health and welfare of the eligible live animals
  • examining, testing or treating the eligible live animals
  • keeping records on how the AEP is implemented
  • making declarations attesting that the requirements of the AEP were completed
  • otherwise reporting on the implementation of the AEP.

Exporters should read the AEP guidelines when drafting or varying an AEP.

We revised the AEP guidelines in May 2020 to clarify that an AEP should only include activities that must be performed by an AAV.

Activities that do not have to be performed by an AAV should be included in an approved arrangement.


Document Pages File size
Approved export program guidelines for the export of livestock PDF  15 1.2 MB
Approved export program guidelines for the export of livestock DOCX  15 1.1 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for help.

Applying for a new AEP

Email the following documents to livestockexp@awe.gov.au:

  • a draft AEP
  • a completed AEP application form [PDF, 359 KB]
  • your approved arrangement (for new exporters, a draft AEP and draft AA will be assessed together).

Applying to vary your AEP

Send a covering email to livestockexp@awe.gov.au that clearly describes the proposed changes to your AEP.

For example, ‘adding land-based AAV instructions for the following [market], [species], [class] and [mode of transport]’.

Attach the following documents to your email:

  • the proposed AEP variation
  • the corresponding standard export plans from your approved arrangement that the proposed AEP variation relates to.


We charge for variations in line with our charging guidelines.

If you have submitted a variation application, you will have been charged at the current rate. In 2020 we commenced a review of our live animal export cost recovery arrangements which may affect future fees charged.

Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS)

ESCAS is an assurance system based on four principles:

  1. Animal welfare: animal handling and slaughter in the importing country conforms to World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) animal welfare recommendations
  2. Control through the supply chain: the exporter has control of all supply chain arrangements for livestock transport, management and slaughter. All livestock remain in the supply chain
  3. Traceability through the supply chain: the exporter can trace all livestock through the supply chain
  4. Independent audit: the supply chain in the importing country is independently audited.

Exporters are required to have an ESCAS in place for all feeder and slaughter livestock. ESCAS does not apply to export of breeder livestock. In order for us to consider a NOI for approval, exporters must have an approved ESCAS in place for the relevant market.

See recent ESCAS performance reports.

ESCAS variations

Exporters may apply to vary an ESCAS approval to add or remove importers or facilities, to change processes at approved facilities or to vary the conditions imposed on an approved ESCAS.

The following details must be included in the ESCAS variation application:

  • The supply chain number (SCN)
  • Details of the variation, e.g. addition or removal of facilities
  • If referring to details contained in an ESCAS that has previously been approved
    • The relevant LNC number and variation number; or
    • IPAR reporting period and supply chains
  • independent audit reports for new facilities or changed processes at facilities in the approved supply chain
  • documents that demonstrate control and traceability arrangements
  • details of any upcoming consignments that the proposed ESCAS variation will apply to.

To add facilities, exporters will be required to provide an independent audit report for the facility and demonstrate control and traceability (this could be in the form of an amended control and traceability declaration). The independent auditor will not need to list the whole supply chain in the report, only new facilities need to be listed.

Variation applications can be submitted to the following email address livestockexp@awe.gov.au. Exporters will receive an acknowledgement receipt when applications are submitted.

NOIs and other export documentation

NOI submission

The Export Control (Animals) Rules 2021 requires that a licenced exporter must submit their Notice of Intention to Export livestock (NOI) at least 10 business days before the proposed export, or 10 business days before any required quarantine or isolation begins. The NOI must be submitted for each consignment of livestock. The NOI must identify the ESCAS approval that will apply to the proposed export.

TRACE (Tracking Animal Certification for Export) provides access to an online system for completing an NOI (notice of intention to export) and associated applications and submissions relating to live animal exports.

We prefer exporters use the TRACE electronic submission system to submit the NOI.

Other export documentation including import permits

All export documentation must be prepared and maintained in line with the exporter’s approved arrangement, regulatory and importing country requirements, with export documentation reviewed by the department at the time of audit.

Prior to export, provisional exporters must provide all documentation to the departmental veterinary officer for verification (this can be achieved via upload to TRACE), while exporters on Performance Level 1 and above are required to provide a set of core documents and retain non-core documents for audit.

Core documents are those documents required to enable the departmental veterinary officer to certify importing country requirements and issue an export permit. We have categorised core documents for each market based on complexity. When presenting a consignment for export, it is the responsibility of the exporter to ensure all relevant documentation is provided in line with information provided on the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (Micor) and any additional requirements outlined on import permits or through other means, as appropriate. If import permit documents are not in English, the exporter must provide a certified translation by a NAATI level 2/3 translator or equivalent. If a livestock export consignment requires a heat stress model, the exporter must prepare the risk assessment using the HotStuff Version 5 software.

See the list of core documents for livestock exports.

TRACE support

Email: TRACE@awe.gov.au

If not using TRACE, exporters should email their NOI submissions to Live Stock Exports, or mail it to:

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Live Animal Export Branch
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: +61 2 6272 4581
Fax: +61 2 6272 5423

Policies to support ASEL standards

The department has published policy documents to facilitate compliance with certain ASEL requirements. These are:


Document Pages File size
Calculating onboard feed and water provisions under ASEL 3.0 DOCX 6 457 KB
Voyage length calculations under ASEL 3.0 DOCX 3 452 KB
Voyage reporting requirements under ASEL 3.0 DOCX 3 452 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Policies to support the Export Control Act 2020

The department has published policy documents for commencement of the new legislation.


Document Pages File size
Live Animal Export Policy - Exemptions for livestock, live animals and animal reproductive material PDF  3 484 KB

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Water deprivation times

The Land Transport Standards set out the maximum times that animals in Australia can have water withheld for transport. Exceeding these times affects how well stock recover from transportation.

These standards help exporters work with those responsible for the care and management of transported livestock to plan and minimise risks to livestock welfare throughout the export supply chain.

Under ASEL, these standards will need to be followed from the time the livestock are curfewed at the registered or other premises prior to export, until they are provided water again - be it after loading or after arrival overseas.

The department has published the water deprivation time for livestock consignments exported by air policy to support compliance with ASEL requirements.


Document Pages File size
Water deprivation time for livestock exported by air to support compliance with ASEL 3.0 DOCX 4 448 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Other application types allowed under ASEL

Where ASEL allows for other types of approvals, the department has also published policy documents to support the implementation of these applications for these approval types. These are:


Document Pages File size
Competent stock handlers on freighter aircraft - applying for alternative arrangements in accordance with ASEL 3.0 DOCX 3 444 KB
AAVs and stockpersons on sea voyages – applying for alternative arrangements in accordance with ASEL 3.0 DOCX 6 452 KB
Breeder cattle by sea – applying for a validity extension for pregnancy testing in accordance with ASEL 3.0 DOCX 3 447 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, please visit web accessibility.

Where approved, these approvals will apply to a particular consignment only. Unlike management plans and alternative pen space, these approvals do not form part of an exporter’s approved arrangement and are instead assessed on a consignment by consignment basis in accordance with the requirements and processes set out in ASEL and the relevant policy.

Last reviewed: 18 May 2021
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