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The frequency of exceptionally hot years, low rainfall and low soil moisture has been increasing in recent decades and this trend is expected to continue across Australia in the years to come. The resulting droughts are not isolated events; they occur over vast areas across the country and have significant and lasting effects on the land, the people whose livelihoods depend on the land and the farm animals in their care.
Those with a responsibility for the care of farm animals need to continue to ensure their animals’ welfare during extended dry periods and drought. Comprehensive drought preparedness strategies include plans for managing animals on farm, building and maintaining feed reserves, ensuring adequate water supply, managing the environment, and building up financial reserves.
Some general principles that will help reduce the risk to the welfare of farm animals during a drought, include the following:
State and territory animal welfare legislation places certain responsibilities on those in charge of an animal’s wellbeing, including during times of drought. Legislation requires that a person:
For further information on RSPCA Australia's position on the management of farm animals during drought, please refer to the Position Paper attached below.