The Queensland Government has clarified branding requirements under the state’s Brands Act 1915 and Stock Act 1915 with respect to branding and waybill requirements for feedlot cattle.
The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) has welcomed the clarification, which it has been seeking to achieve for several years.
Under the Brands Act, all cattle greater than 100kg must be branded prior to sale. ALFA has argued that the interpretation of the legislation with its policy to improve stock theft has in fact resulted in onerous and unnecessary requirements on feedlots. Arguments include:
- There are a large number of Queensland feedlots that are vertically integrated with cattle being owned by the same company from birth through the chain to slaughter, and whilst there was no sale transaction, a brand was required by law
- Many feedlots purchase cattle from interstate where branding is not compulsory and therefore branding the cattle was an additional cost imposition to the feedlot, and
- Under the previous interpretation of the legislation, for a waybill to be deemed correctly completed, the brands of all animals had to be detailed. However, brands are often unidentifiable due to dirty hides, hairy coats and poor brand markings, which make it difficult to accurately identify the brand to record on the waybill.
The Minister for Agriculture, John McVeigh has advised that the following scenarios are not considered to be a ‘sale’ transaction under the legislation and therefore branding is not required for:
- Interstate cattle ‘custom fed’ in Queensland feedlots
- Cattle sold interstate and then transported to an abattoir in Queensland for slaughter
- Cattle taken straight from their home property to slaughter and sold over the hooks, and
- Cattle owned by a vertically integrated company from birth to slaughter, including integrated extensive and intensive businesses.
Branding continues to apply to interstate cattle that are sold over the scales to a feedlot or purchased from a saleyard in Queensland and to cattle that are not immediately slaughtered and diverted from a feedlot and sold to another company or person.
In relation to waybills, the Minister has advised that there is no legal obligation to provide additional information on waybills including brands, National Livestock Identification System numbers and or management tag details.