RURAL veterinarians are disappointed they have not been consulted on proposed changes to the Veterin

14 Jun, 2007 07:00 PM

The WA Veterinary Surgeons Board is currently consulting with stakeholders on the specifications of an accreditation process to qualify people to perform pregnancy testing.

It is understood it will be run by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).

Currently WA and Queensland are the only states in Australia that do not have a deregulated cattle pregnancy testing system.

WA Veterinary Board deputy registrar Chris Lloyd said an acceptable standard of competency would need to be established.

"Those interested in becoming accredited will be required to undertake a rigorous accreditation process and following successful completion of that process would be certified by the board," he said.

Mr Lloyd said the board understood that in some areas cattle producers were finding it difficult to find veterinary surgeons to carry out pregnancy testing at a time that they were required.

But rural vets are concerned that the ruling could reduce the number of vets in regional areas.

Australian Cattle Veterinarians WA representative Ian Bradshaw said it was disappointing that the association is yet to be consulted on the issue.

"Pregnancy testing is an important income stream for many country based vets," he said.

"It is also a much underrated skill and there hasn't really being a good understanding of what is involved in pregnancy testing.

"Basic training in pregnancy testing would not allow the operator to carry out procedures such as trying to precisely age a dairy foetus for example."

Pastoralists and Graziers Association meat section president Tim D'Arcy said the association had being pushing for the deregulation.

"In some areas of WA it is just about impossible to get a vet for pregnancy testing," he said.

"In pastoral areas especially there is a lack of veterinary surgeons.

"There is one vet in Broome and one in Exmouth and they have a huge area to cover between them.

"Even producers in the south west have told me they have struggled to get vets at certain times."

Mr D'Arcy said there had been cases of cows destined for live export dropping calves on boats.

"That is a real animal welfare issue and something that we must avoid," he said.

"If there are accredited people out there that can do this work then the chances of that type of thing happening is greatly reduced."

Mr D'Arcy said a rigorous accreditation process would be required to ensure that pregnancy testers were highly qualified.

pregnancy testing business."


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