Exporting livestock

​To export livestock, licenced exporters must have an approved arrangement (or an exemption) and if exporting feeder/slaughter animals, have an approved exporter supply chain assurance system (ESCAS). Exporters must also submit a Notice of Intention (NoI) and other export documentation in line with the exporter’s approved arrangement, regulatory and importing country requirements for each consignment.

Approved arrangements

An approved arrangement is an agreement between the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and a livestock exporter that allows for a streamlined export certification process. Approved arrangements reduce unnecessary regulation and costs for compliant exporters by streamlining the export certification process. They reduce duplication and move to a risk-based approach, improving timeframes for consignment approval and cutting down on re-checking every detail of every consignment. It brings the live animal export industry into alignment with other export commodities, including meat, dairy, fish and eggs.

The arrangement is based on an approved manual that describes the processes and practices an exporter will follow to ensure they meet Australian Government requirements for the certification of livestock for export, including:

  • the Australian standards for the export of livestock (ASEL)
  • importing country requirements
  • other legislative requirements.

Approved arrangements only apply to on-shore activities conducted within Australia’s territory and does not change existing Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) requirements in any way.

All livestock exporters need an approved arrangement to export from 1 January 2017 unless they have been granted a small and infrequent exporter exemption.

Supporting material has been prepared to assist exporters in ‘Obtaining an approved arrangement’.

Approved arrangement variations

If an exporter intends to export a new species, use a different mode of transport or export to a new market, a variation request must be made in writing to the department along with a new Standard Export Plan (SEP) and a completed credit card payment form authorising the application charge.

An assessing officer from the department will contact the applicant if any changes are required to the SEP, or if any other further information or clarification is required.

Applications are assessed at the national office in Canberra. The department will only assess complete applications. An application that is missing required information or needs clarification is considered an incomplete application. If the application is incomplete, the applicant will be contacted by an assessor to request the information the application is missing. Once the application is complete, please allow 20 business days from the date of payment of the application charge, for the application to be assessed.

The new SEP must be approved by the department prior to an application for an export permit and health certificate. If the variation is approved, the department will advise the exporter if it will require full livestock inspection and documentation verification for a number of consignments to verify arrangements. More information can be found in the approved arrangement Performance Management and Compliance Guidelines.

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 the department to consider a NOI for approval, exporters must have an approved ESCAS in place for the relevant market.

Recent ESCAS performance reports can be found on the department’s website.

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 the department 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 Live Stock Exports. Exporters will receive an acknowledgement receipt when applications are submitted.

NOIs and other export documentation

NOI submission

The ‘Export Control (Animals) Order 2004' requires that a licensed exporter must submit their Notice of Intention to Export livestock (NOI) at least 10 working days before the proposed export, or 10 working 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.

The department prefers that 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. The department has 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 4 software.

A list of core documents can be found on the department’s website.

TRACE support email contact

Email: TRACE

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

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

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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