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295 WA cattle to be culled in BJD control move

Beef Central, 18/12/2012

A total of 295 ‘at-risk’ cattle will be culled in Western Australia as the state moves to protect its Bovine Johne’s Disease free status.

Western Australia’s Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Management Committee (IMC) has endorsed recommendations by the Department of Agriculture and Food to maintain the State’s Bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) Free Zone status.

Industry Management Committee (IMC) chair Ruth Webb-Smith said in a statement that the IMC had approved the department’s proposed BJD program and supported funding to resolve the status of cattle imported from a Queensland stud which had tested positive for BJD.

The department has traced 476 cattle, all bulls, brought into WA from the stud since 2000, to six properties in the Kimberley.

Ms Webb-Smith said the committee acknowledged that the risk of BJD establishing and spreading in the Kimberley was low, however it endorsed the need for the resolution of the suspect status of introduced bulls to maintain WA’s BJD Free status.

Some of these introduced cattle were no longer on the properties having been sent to slaughter, exported or died of natural causes.

“The Industry Management Committee has endorsed department recommendations to cull approximately 295 remaining at-risk cattle from the traced properties and to pay compensation to the affected producers,” Ms Webb-Smith said.

“Funding for costs associated with trucking, sample collection and laboratory testing to resolve suspicion of BJD will also be made available, along with funding to undertake herd testing on the six properties.”

Ms Webb-Smith said the funding was expected to total about $630,000.

Department chief veterinary officer Peter Morcombe said the BJD program would commence as soon as it was practical to muster, test and remove cattle from the property.

“The department has contacted all of the property owners involved and a department veterinary officer has visited to assist in developing a property plan,” Dr Morcombe said.

“The IMC’s decision to fund activities to maintain a BJD Free Zone supports industry and government efforts to maintain WA’s highly regarded animal health status.”

In 1999, Western Australia was recognised nationally as a Free Zone for BJD and remains a BJD Free Zone.

In the past, there have been nine cases of BJD in cattle and one in an alpaca in WA, linked to animals brought in from interstate. In each case the disease was eradicated.

Dr Morcombe said producers who see signs of chronic diarrhoea and wasting in adult cattle should contact a veterinarian to conduct an investigation.

Kimberley producers who have queries can contact district veterinary officer Dr Matt Bullard at the department’s Broome office on 9194 1420.

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