Pregnancy testing of breeding cattle bound for air or sea journeys of 10 days or more can only be carried out by a veterinarian who is an accredited tester under the Australian Cattle Veterinarians PREgCHECK scheme, under Australian Government requirements.
The requirements, clarified in a recently released export notice by the Australian Government, are aimed at minimising the risk of sending pregnant cattle overseas and therefore ensuring their welfare.
Pregnancy test on feeder and slaughter cattle to be transported by air can only be carried out by a registered veterinarian.
Also, authorised testers for feeder cattle in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, can only do so by manual palpation, and not by ultrasound.
The Australian Government’s Export Advisory Notice 2016-22 outlines the rules for pregnancy testing to meet the Australian Standard for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) requirement for unspayed female cattle for export must be tested prior to export (Click here to see the notice on the Department of Agriculture website).
ACV President Dr Craig Dwyer said PREgCHECK (formerly the National Cattle Pregnancy Diagnosis Scheme or NCPD) was the most robust pregnancy diagnosis assurance scheme in Australia.
“Accredited members have to demonstrate their ability to manually detect pregnancies down to 42 days, and accurately estimate gestational age,” he said.
“Accredited testers under the scheme have a unique registration number and are the only people authorised to use the scheme’s certification mark on cattle tail tags.
“These tags are well recognised in the industry and are used by producers to add value to sold livestock.”
PREgCHECK uses both rectal palpation and ultrasound to make an accurate diagnosis and predict calving date.
“This is not available with blood or milk pregnancy testing,” Dr Dwyer said.
“We’re also pleased to see that any pregnancy test on feeder and slaughter cattle to be transported by air can only be carried out by a registered veterinarian. Also, authorised testers for feeder cattle in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, can only do so by manual palpation, and not by ultrasound.
“The ACV has been lobbying to improve the accountability of pregnancy testing in live export and this is a strong positive step towards better animal welfare outcomes in the live export supply chain,” he said.