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Moving Cattle

Stock owners are responsible for their own cattle tick control.

  • If moving animals, consider the level of tick infestation, seasonal conditions, the destination and whether or not movement will cross the cattle tick line.
  • Meatworks in infested zones: animals do not require treating.
  • Meatworks in tick-free zones: regulatory treatment requirements must be followed.
  • Saleyards: base treatment decision on the target market. Declare any treatments so that buyers can make informed decisions on the risk of moving resistant ticks.
  • Property to property: treatment is optional if within the same cattle tick zone but consider your future control plan and the risk of moving resistant ticks.


Cattle tick control and treatment in endemic areas is the duty of the individual person responsible for the cattle.

Other people’s expectations should be considered, in particular people who may be receiving the cattle at their destination.

The decision to treat cattle before movement may depend on the level of tick infestation, seasonal conditions, legislative requirements and the destination or intended market. Depending on the circumstances, a certain level of cattle tick infestation may be acceptable.


The need to treat cattle before consigning them to meatworks depends on the location of the facility and the legislative requirements of the state. For cattle traveling from the cattle tick infected zone to a meatwork facility in an infested zone, there is little or no benefit in treatments. However, for facilities in the cattle tick free zone, regulatory requirements must be complied with.

Any applied treatments need to minimise the risk of chemical residues in or on the animal and ensure that the animals are not sent to slaughter within any withholding periods (WHP) and export slaughter intervals (ESI).


Cattle owners need to be mindful that cattle that are heavily infested with ticks at a public saleyard may raise a public perception of poor management and raise concerns of animal welfare.

Consider your cattle type, target market and potential buyers. Treating cattle before sending them to a saleyard will present them visibly free of ticks and will provide some confidence for buyers that they may be able to move stock in a timely, cost effective manner that minimises the risk of introducing resistant ticks. Care should be taken to not sell older cattle through a saleyard that are within a WHP or ESI. Sending cattle to sale within a WHP or ESI will automatically discourage abattoir buyers from the purchase.

Buyers from tick-free areas may discount on the purchase price to cover the costs of inspection and treatment to move between cattle tick zones.

Provide a declaration of any treatments, even those chemicals outside of any withholding period that are not required to be listed, on a National Vendor Declaration (NVD) using a cattle health declaration. This will allow buyers to make an informed decision of the risk of chemical resistance and enable them to determine any further treatment program or quarantine strategy they may need to adopt to prevent the introduction of resistant ticks.

Property to property (including online sales)

Property to property movements under the same ownership, in the same cattle tick zone, is the decision of the individual as to what, if any, treatment is applied to the cattle.

Property movements that cross a tick line from infected to free will need to comply with state legislation.

Remember though that a decision not to treat could impact on future control costs and options for that property, and it may impact on neighbouring properties.

Effective treatment before movement may prevent the spread of resistant ticks.

Purchasing and moving cattle within the cattle tick zone

  • Conduct due diligence on cattle before purchase. This includes inspecting the cattle health declaration or the National Vendor Declaration (NVD), pre-purpose reports, or online lot assessments to determine what treatments have been applied to the cattle. This will enable you to make an informed decision about your future management strategies and the risk of introducing chemical resistance. If you cannot access this information, ask the seller or the selling agent if the cattle have received any other cattle tick treatments, and which chemical actives were used.
  • Inspect the cattle for ticks before purchase where possible.
  • If cattle were treated prior to sale they will appear visibly free of ticks and can be moved in a timely, cost effective manner that minimises the risk of introducing resistant ticks.
  • If the sale cattle are infested with ticks, treat them to kill the ticks before moving the cattle to your property to prevent the transfer of potentially resistant ticks. Note that if you are planning to relocate cattle across the tick line, into the tick-free zone, you must follow State and Territory regulatory treatment requirements.
  • If you have experienced a tick fever outbreak, or you know it to be present in your area, check if the cattle have received a tick fever vaccination. Cattle of any age can be vaccinated, but it is best to vaccinate animals between 3-9 months of age. It takes about 3-4 weeks after vaccination for immunity to develop to babesiosis and up to two months for immunity to develop to anaplasmosis. If it is not possible for you to delay the movement of cattle, move them before day 7 or from 21 to 30 days after vaccination. These ‘windows’ prevent animals being transported and stressed during reaction periods, but the risk of disease from field infection still exists until immunity develops.

Movement regulations and legal responsibilities

When moving livestock, owners must follow mandatory requirements (e.g. traceability) depending on the species of livestock that are being moved and where they are going. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) ensures lifetime movements of cattle can be identified and recorded within Australia. Traceability, especially lifetime traceability, is important for biosecurity purposes, including the management of disease and chemical residues.

There are specific NLIS requirements when moving different types of livestock. All cattle must be fitted with an approved NLIS device when moving between properties. Properties are identified by means of a Property Identification Code (PIC). All movements must be reported to the NLIS database within 48 hours of livestock being moved.

State and territory government agencies require movement documentation. They may also require testing and/or certification to ensure livestock are free of certain pests and diseases.

Before moving any livestock within your state, or to a different state or territory, owners should check the requirements on your relevant state or territory website (see links below) or contact your local stock office.

Cattle tick distribution and movement regulations


Queensland is divided into 2 cattle tick zones the Queensland cattle tick free zone and the Queensland cattle tick infested zone. All livestock must be free of cattle tick before entering the free zone. When moving livestock between zones there are risk minimisation requirements that must be met. The transporting of livestock between cattle tick zones guide covers this in detail including information about livestock movement records.

Cattle ticks found in the cattle tick free zone are notifiable under the Biosecurity Act 2014 which means by law you must report the finding to Biosecurity Queensland immediately.

From the 1st of June, 2021 the QLD government will implement a new cattle tick management requirement.  As of this date all cattle consignments presented to an accredited certifier must be accompanied by an owner Declaration. The Crossing the Tick Line Factsheet contains further detail on this change.

For more information go to Queensland Government livestock movement

New South Wales

Cattle tick infestation is notifiable in NSW under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and animals that carry cattle tick can only enter NSW if they meet certain inspection and/or treatment requirements before entering NSW. Animals moving to abattoirs or feedlots have less stringent requirements than animal moving to other properties. There are legal controls on the entry of cattle tick carriers (animals that can carry cattle tick) to NSW. For more information see the NSW Government Primefact on NSW entry requirements.

Northern Territory

Cattle tick is a serious pest in the Northern Territory (NT). There are different levels of control on stock movement depending on which zone cattle are leaving and where they are going. For information on moving cattle, buffalo, horses, sheep, goats, camels, deer, llamas and alpacas within the infected zone, the free zone and the Parkhurst (SP resistant) Infected Zone see the following Northern Territory Government website on cattle tick control.

Western Australia

Strict movement requirements exist when importing livestock from interstate and/or overseas into Western Australia (WA).

In Western Australia, any movement of stock from any area (both interstate and intrastate) other than a cattle tick free area requires approved tick treatment, supervised inspection and clearance certification from the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) before the movement. For more information see the Western Australian Government website on stock movements and ticks.


To protect Victoria’s livestock and livestock industries, there are controls on the introduction of livestock from other states and territories in Australia. These controls are governed by the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994. Prior to moving livestock into Victoria, owners must certify the health of their animals by completing prescribed certificates, vendor declarations and health statements and delivering these to the receiver of the livestock. These records must be kept for a specified period of time. For more information see the Victorian Government website on interstate livestock movements.

South Australia

All cattle moved to South Australia from interstate must have a National Livestock Identification System device and be accompanied by either a National Vendor Declaration (NVD’s) or an Alternate Cattle Movement Waybill and have a National Cattle Health Declaration. A National Cattle Health Declaration is not needed if destined direct to slaughter or to reside on a property approved by the Chief Inspector of Stock. Copies of documents must be kept for 7 years. Livestock or livestock products affected or suspected of being affected with a notifiable disease must not be brought into or moved within the state without approval of the Chief Inspector of Stock. The owner and any person responsible for the animals or products must ensure that all movement conditions are met. Failure to do so may incur penalties or quarantine restrictions. For more information see the South Australian Government website on interstate movements of cattle.


Tasmania has placed controls over the importation of animals from other States or Territories. These controls are enacted under the Animal Health Act 1995. It is a condition of entry that all animals are healthy. Animals known to be in their final trimester of pregnancy, or showing signs of advanced pregnancy, should not be transported across Bass Strait. Animal welfare requirements for the transport of livestock across Bass Strait are outlined in the document Animal Welfare Guidelines – Transport of Livestock Across Bass Strait, including the Animal Welfare declaration that must be signed by the transporter and master of the vessel.

Animals and necessary paperwork must be presented for inspection upon arrival in Tasmania. For more information see the Tasmanian Government website on importing animals.

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