Policy: Transport of livestock

Policy type: Policy
Reference: 12a
Status: Current
Date ratified: December 2018

Note: This policy, the guideline and a template for building a standard operating procedure for Fitness for Transport Certification are available here.


The NZVA believes that the transportation of live animals should occur only when their welfare can be appropriately managed and maintained. Animal welfare standards and guidelines for live transportation set out in the Animal Welfare Act (1999) should be followed and enforced.


Should questions arise over whether an animal is fit for transport, a veterinarian should be consulted, and a thorough examination should be undertaken. The veterinarian may certify in writing that they consider the animal fit enough to be transported without experiencing undue pain or distress.

Veterinary certification of the fitness of animals for transport is a key component in protecting the welfare of animals with various conditions and abnormalities. This is of importance for the animals being certified, for the integrity of the veterinary profession, and for ensuring international confidence in New Zealand’s animal welfare system.

Fitness for Transport Veterinary Certificate pads can be ordered from the New Zealand Veterinary Association.

The Animal Welfare Regulations (2018) outlines several conditions affecting animals that constitute infringement offences if animals with these conditions are transported without a discretionary veterinary certificate. The conditions are as follows:

  • Ingrown horns (Regulation 38)
  • Bleeding horns or antlers (Regulation 39)
  • Lameness (Regulation 40) (relates to cattle, deer, pigs, sheep, and goats)
  • Late term pregnancy (Regulation 41)
  • Injured or diseased udders (Regulation 42)
  • Eye cancer (Regulation 43)

Veterinarians and farmers need to be aware of these conditions so appropriate advice can be given regarding the fitness of animals for transport, and so veterinary certification can be provided where appropriate.


Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations (2018)

The Animal Welfare Act (1999)

The Transport within New Zealand Code of Welfare (October 2018)

Related pages and resources