Funding agreement – Improving health and welfare in the buffalo live export supply chain

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Ltd

  • Project code: PRO-017544

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Sunday, June 18, 2023

  • Project completion date: Monday, October 12, 2026

  • National Priority: BUF-Enhance industry success through targeted industry-specific RD&E


Co-funding Investment in research in ways to improve buffalo health and welfare, and establish best practice, within the supply chain of buffalo from Arnhem Land either into live export or the abattoir at Batchelor. Successful conclusion from this research will therefore have benefits for animal welfare, Aboriginal economic advancement, conservation, and business in these remote Northern Australia locations. This addresses priority one from the Agrifutures Buffalo RD&E Plan.



Research Organisation

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Ltd

Objective Summary

The project aim is to develop evidenced-based and feasible recommendations and strategies that improve the health and welfare outcomes for harvested buffalo throughout the entire supply chain. 
The project has four main objectives to achieve its purpose: 

  1. Analyse current evidence, practices, risk factors, and indicators of adverse animal mortality, health, and welfare outcomes throughout the free-range buffalo supply chain.
  2. Evaluate the influence of animal-, management- and environmental-based factors on key animal welfare outcomes for a range of supply chain conditions.
  3. Develop evidence-based and feasible recommendations for policy and practice changes that will reduce the risk of animal mortalities and adverse health and welfare outcomes.
  4. Identify the opportunities for economically feasible buffalo harvesting on traditional lands whilst achieving acceptable animal welfare outcomes and meeting the economic
    development, cultural, and ecological goals of indigenous communities. This is an additional objective for which an application for additional funding is being submitted.

The ultimate outcome of the project is to reduce mortality rates to comparable levels with the cattle industry across the supply chain and to meet the Australian Standards for Export of Livestock (ASEL 3.0, Department of Agriculture 2020) conditions. The project includes extensive engagement and consultation with industry, government, and indigenous stakeholders to understand the issues, review new evidence and explore feasible solutions and changes throughout the entire supply chain. 
The outcome of the supplementary work, which is covered by the fourth objective, will be a plan for sustainable harvest of buffalo across Arnhem Land that meets the aspirations of traditional owners and reduces the environmental impact of buffalo on sensitive areas.