Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

Tag exemption, transport and welfare help for fire-affected stock

Sheep Central, January 23, 2020

AGRICULTURE Victoria has introduced a livestock tagging exemption to help bushfire-affected Victorian producers who move their sheep, goats or cattle for sale, agistment or slaughter.

Acting executive director of biosecurity, Sharyn Williams, said under normal trading conditions livestock owners are required to correct identify cattle, sheep or goats with National Livestock Identification System tags prior to them leaving their property.

“However, we understand that during emergencies like the recent fires animals might need to be moved urgently – for their own safety, or for sale, treatment or agistment.

“We have put in place an exemption for some livestock movement requirements for Property Identification Code (PIC) holders, within the Victorian fire affected areas,” she said.

Ms Williams said cattle, sheep or goats can be dispatched from a property without an NLIS tag, but the movement must happen with a completed vendor declaration and Agriculture Victoria must be notified of the movement within seven days. She said if this happens producers should contact the NLIS team.

Ms Williams said if untagged livestock are consigned from properties within a fire-affected area to an abattoir, owners must contact the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline to obtain a permit. A completed vendor declaration is also needed.

Ms Williams reminded producers that cattle, sheep or goats moved under emergency conditions must be correctly tagged (with a post-breeder tag) at the earliest opportunity after they have been moved.

“Emergency NLIS tags can be purchased by calling the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline.

“Where animals are tagged, livestock owners are required to notify the NLIS database when they receive livestock from another property, including those arriving on agistment, and that the owner or manager receiving the livestock is responsible for completing the transfer,” she said.

The NLIS team can be contacted via:

Email: [email protected]

Text message: 0437 106 473

Phone: Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 799

Transport subsidies for affected producers

The Victorian Government has also announced transport subsidies of up to $15,000 for primary producers (including apiarists) affected by bushfires across Victoria. Primary producers can claim the subsidy on eligible transport costs that directly address immediate animal welfare needs, including the transport of:

  • Emergency fodder for stock to fire-affected properties
  • Stock to agistment (including returning stock)
  • Stock to sale or slaughter
  • Emergency stock drinking water.

For more information contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or visit

Animal welfare assessments available

Agriculture Victoria is also supporting Gippsland and Upper Murray landholders impacted by recent fires through animal welfare assessments and assistance, farm impact assessments and the referral of urgent cases of personal need to the appropriate agencies.

Producers with injured livestock are urged to report it to Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226 so that animal health staff can assess the livestock. Those with injured pets are advised to seek help immediately from their local veterinarian.

In the months ahead, Agriculture Victoria will provide ongoing support to farmers, such as the provision of technical advice associated with fire recovery.

For more information on bushfire recovery, please contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or see

Source: Agriculture Victoria.


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