Safe and responsible animal treatments

Every LPA accredited producer must undertake steps to ensure that animal treatments are administered in a safe and responsible manner that minimises the risk of chemical residues and physical hazards. 

How can producers meet this LPA requirement?

To ensure they are delivering safe and responsible animal treatments, livestock owners are required to:

  • Regularly review and complete the safe and responsible animal treatments checklist.
  • Document and file all animal treatment details.
  • Complete a chemical user’s course.
  • Record when equipment used for livestock treatment is cleaned.
  • Ensure they have written authorisation and directions for any off-label use of chemicals or drugs.
  • Note animals that may have been exposed to physical contaminants such as broken needles.
  • Identify every animal treated with a hormone growth promotant (HGP) with a triangular ear mark.  

Why do we need safe and responsible treatments? 

Our customers expect that livestock are treated responsibly and the meat we produce is safe. To ensure this, and protect the reputation of Australian red meat, animal treatments need to be safe.

Tools & Resources

FAQs

Anyone applying or handling chemicals must be able to demonstrate competency in the storage, handling, preparation, use and disposal of chemicals. Ideally, livestock producers will hold or be under the supervision of someone that has a current recognised chemical user’s certificate. Certificates should be stored and presented during the LPA audit.

Cattle treated with HGPs must be identified by a triangular ear punch so they can be kept separate where necessary. Some customers and markets do not want to buy meat that has been treated with HGPs.

The withholding period for meat is the minimum time after an animal is treated with a veterinary medicine or pesticide before it may be legally slaughtered for human consumption. Withholding periods are set to ensure that chemical residues, if any, in the carcase are below the maximum residue limit allowed for that chemical in food in Australia.

In general, slaughter and feeder animals should not be treated with a veterinary drug if the withholding period exceeds the expected date of departure from a property.

An export slaughter interval (ESI) is the period that must lapse between chemical application to livestock and their slaughter for export. Compliance with the ESI means that the slaughtered livestock will meet the residue limits which apply in all export markets.  ESIs are revised throughout the year, which means the ESI printed on the LPA NVD may be out of date. For the latest version, producers should visit www.apvma.gov.au/esi

Livestock producers are required to keep a record of all animal treatments, and update this record every time an animal is treated with veterinary chemicals, including HGPs. These records must contain information on:

  • Date of treatment
  • Description, location and number of livestock treated
  • The chemicals used (including trade name, batch number and dose)
  • The relevant Withholding Period (WHP)/Export Slaughter Interval (ESI)

You must also permanently identify any animals that:

  • May have been exposed to physical contaminants such as broken needles
  • Are treated with HGPs

All livestock treatment details, including the relevant WHP and ESI, must be recorded on the LPA NVD to ensure that livestock are not processed for human consumption before these have expired.

Note: Keep records for a minimum of three years, in accordance with State legislation, or for the duration of the livestock on the PIC, whichever is longer.

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