The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC) considers the application of sound animal welfare practices at processing establishments to be vital to the sustainable operation of the industry and our members are committed to proper, stringent, and accountable animal welfare practices through the supply chain.

AMIC’s National Processor Council has determined, after extended consideration, to endorse the incorporation of Video Surveillance Systems (VSS) as a mandatory requirement of the Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System (known as AAWCS).

Within AAWCS, the move to integrate VSS is a reflection of the program evolving to ensure it remains a world-leading best-practice certification system. VSS, when incorporated into quality management systems, is a technology for processors to monitor and validate animal welfare in processing plants. First and foremost, VSS is a tool to assist processors – not a blunt regulatory instrument.

The decision to mandate VSS as a component of AAWCS is an industry initiative made in consultation with other stakeholders, such as RSPCA Australia.

Animal rights groups that attack industry create an environment of hostility and mistrust, and provide no room for balanced discussion as they only seek to impose their anti-meat agenda. Only through constructive dialogue between industry and reputable animal welfare organisations can sensible and evidence-based solutions be formed to improve welfare outcomes.

AAWCS is independently audited and underpinned by best-practice animal welfare standards for processing livestock – standards developed in consultation with animal welfare groups, industry representatives and independent experts.

AAWCS has been in place for over a decade and is a prime example of industry self-regulating. AAWCS accreditation is voluntary but the program now covers over 80% of cattle, sheep and pigs processed in Australia and it has been adopted as a commercial requirement by many end-users.

AMIC will establish a drafting committee of experts, including RSPCA Australia, to update the AAWCS standards and work through necessary changes to the program over the coming months. AAWCS certified establishments will be required to have a functional VSS installed in their facilities to monitor livestock handling processes from the point of receival through to the point of slaughter from 2026.

AMIC strongly encourages all processing establishments to join AAWCS – a program which strives for best practice and world-leading animal welfare outcomes. However, we also recognise that some facilities may not have the systems and personnel in place to meet all the requirements of AAWCS. AMIC does not support VSS being a universal mandated requirement and/or incorporated into minimum standards. There are more pressing priorities that such businesses should focus on to underpin animal welfare, notably staff training and basic quality management system

Quotes attributable to Australian Meat Industry Council Chair, Tom Maguire:

“This decision by AMIC’s National Processor Council highlights that the Australian meat industry views animal welfare as a core pillar of doing business.”

“As demonstrated by having RSPCA Australia CEO Richard Mussell speak at our Meat Processing and Export Conference in October 2023, industry is happy to engage respectable animal welfare organisations to discuss ways to achieve better outcomes.”

“With industry providing greater transparency, AMIC will continue to call on State and Federal Governments and Regulators to have zero tolerance of vigilante groups that trespass and illegally capture footage. Organisations that promote such activity to drive their own agendas should also be sidelined from legitimate forums designed to improve animal welfare.”

“The red meat industry is dedicated to transparency and high standards that Australian consumers and our international trading partners demand.”




AAWCS is an independently audited certification program used by livestock processors to demonstrate compliance with the industry best practice animal welfare standards from receival of livestock, to the point of humane processing.


The Australian Meat Industry Council (AMIC), is the sole Peak Industry body representing the post-farm gate meat industry, including processors, smallgoods manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors through to independent retail butchers and exporters.

Media contact

Keith Drain – Communications Manager

E: [email protected]