Meat & Livestock News

Meat Industry to Incorporate Mandatory Video Surveillance Systems in Animal Welfare Certification System


  • The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) has decided to make Video Surveillance Systems (VSS) a mandatory part of the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS).
  • This move aims to enhance transparency and ensure best-practice animal welfare standards in meat processing facilities. Over 80% of cattle, sheep, and pigs processed in Australia are covered by AAWCS, which is a voluntary program.

The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) is committed to upholding high standards of animal welfare in meat processing establishments. Recognising the importance of sound animal welfare practices, AMIC’s National Processor Council has endorsed the integration of Video Surveillance Systems (VSS) into the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (AAWCS).

This decision reflects the industry’s dedication to maintaining a world-leading certification system that ensures the humane treatment of animals throughout the supply chain.

VSS technology will serve as a tool for processors to monitor and validate animal welfare practices within their facilities. It is intended to assist rather than act as a punitive measure. The incorporation of VSS into AAWCS comes after thorough consultation with stakeholders, including RSPCA Australia, highlighting the industry’s commitment to collaborative efforts in improving animal welfare.

The initiative to mandate VSS underscores the industry’s proactive approach to self-regulation and transparency. AAWCS, which has been operational for over a decade, is an independently audited program that demonstrates compliance with best-practice animal welfare standards.

Currently, the program covers more than 80% of the livestock processed in Australia, evidencing its widespread adoption and the industry’s commitment to high welfare standards.

AMIC plans to establish a drafting committee, including representatives from RSPCA Australia, to update the AAWCS standards and implement the necessary changes. By 2026, all AAWCS-certified establishments will be required to have functional VSS installed, monitoring livestock handling from reception to slaughter.

This move is part of AMIC’s broader strategy to encourage all processing establishments to strive for best practice and world-leading outcomes in animal welfare.

However, AMIC acknowledges that not all facilities may currently have the infrastructure or personnel to meet AAWCS requirements. The council does not advocate for VSS to become a universal mandate outside of the AAWCS program, emphasising instead the importance of staff training and quality management systems as foundational elements of animal welfare.

Tom Maguire, Chair of the Australian Meat Industry Council, reiterated the industry’s commitment to animal welfare as a core business principle.

He highlighted the industry’s openness to dialogue with reputable animal welfare organisations to achieve better outcomes. Maguire also called for government and regulatory bodies to take a firm stance against illegal activities that undermine the industry’s efforts towards transparency and high standards.

The Australian meat industry’s decision to integrate VSS into AAWCS reflects its ongoing commitment to animal welfare and transparency. This initiative, developed in collaboration with key stakeholders, aims to ensure that Australian meat processing facilities continue to meet the high expectations of both consumers and international trading partners.