A Western Australian sheep producer has been prosecuted for failing to comply with a quarantine notice issued under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (BAM) Regulations 2013, after virulent footrot was detected in his sheep flock.
The producer, in the Shire of Denmark, pleaded guilty to failing to take adequate precautions to prevent his sheep leaving the quarantined property and was given a fine of $900.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development veterinarian Jenny Cotter, who manages implementation of the Footrot Control Program on behalf of the Sheep and Goats Industry Funding Scheme (IFS), said that the prosecution demonstrated the importance of adhering to quarantine notice instructions, which were designed to prevent the further spread of virulent footrot.
"Virulent footrot is a bacterial infection of the skin on sheep's feet that causes lameness and productivity losses," Dr Cotter said.
"Movements of infected sheep can spread the disease.
"On behalf of sheep producers in WA, the Sheep and Goats IFS invests significant funding to control the spread of virulent footrot within WA and to limit the financial and welfare impacts of the disease."
Dr Cotter said that a contribution of 15 cents for every sheep or goat sold in WA is collected by the IFS, which is then used to fund priority industry programs aimed at controlling declared pests and diseases such as virulent footrot.
"The department quarantines flocks with virulent footrot to restrict the movement of sheep from these properties until the infection has been eradicated," she said.
"If your property is quarantined for footrot, you are responsible for ensuring that the disease does not spread to your neighbours by preventing your sheep from straying off your property.
"The quarantine notice specifically directs that fence and gate security must be maintained to ensure sheep remain within the quarantined property."
See the department's website at agric.wa.gov.au for more information about the Sheep and Goat Industry Funding Scheme's Footrot Control Program.