WA gets tough on OJD

19 Jun, 2002 10:00 PM
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WA will impose Australia's strictest quarantine measures against Ovine Johne's Disease next month in a bid to protect the state's disease-free status.

The increased limits are the latest step-up in the Agriculture Department's ongoing campaign to eliminate the risk of OJD entering WA.

The changes to the OJD market assurance program include blanket trade bans against areas identified as having a higher than 10pc prevalence of the disease and tougher trade limits on all other eastern state regions.

Agriculture Department OJD state co-ordinator Peter Morcombe said eastern state sheep and goat producers would be expected to meet a monitored negative level three status (MN3) after July 1.

As the highest level, MN3 was equivalent to WA's free status.

Mr Morcombe said MN3-rated animals, which had entered the program from the onset in 1998, had the equivalent of about 500 blood sample tests or 350 bull faecal cultures.

He said the stringent testing had proved successful in all but one case, where an animal broke down with OJD in WA.

Alpaca and beef growers wishing to trade with WA will be expected to meet MN2 status under the new standards.

Some exceptions exist for low-risk cattle regions in NT, QlD and northern SA, where growers will be expected to sign declarations about an animal's birth and grazing history.

Blanket bans will be applied to dairy cattle raised in parts of NSW and Victoria, where a higher than 10pc prevalence of the disease existed.

Mr Morcombe said the Agriculture Department would continue to push for dairy producers to trade with WA exclusively in semen and embryos, which reduced the risk of transporting the disease to "almost zero".

He said the latest moves were part of the ongoing process that began in 1998.

But greater awareness of the incidence of OJD in the east had allowed WA to impose stricter limits on regions identified as high risk.

"We believe the program has been working but we felt there were areas where it could be improved," he said.

COMMENTS

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Australia's live animal trade is nothing but a blood stained industry that suits those who