BJD affected properties suspended from export markets

Beef Central, 07/02/2013

The owners of six properties in northern Western Australia under investigation for Bovine Johne’s Disease have been advised they cannot export cattle to ‘BJD sensitive’ markets until their herds are formally cleared of the disease.

‘BJD sensitive markets’ are deemed to be those with import protocols that stipulate cattle will only be accepted from herds that have been clinically free of BJD for a minimum period, or in some cases that test free to BJD.

The list includes significant markets such as Indonesia, which requires a minimum of five years clinical freedom from BJD for feeder/slaughter cattle, Israel (three year freedom for feeder/slaughter cattle) Malaysia (two-year) and the Philippines (one year) (click here to view list of export markets that apply restrictions based on BJD)

In the wake of the detection of three animals with BJD on a Queensland cattle stud late last year, the WA Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) has traced the movement of 476 bulls from the stud since 2000 to six properties in the Kimberley.

The six properties have been placed under movement restrictions as the Department works with each to muster and cull the remaining bulls and to conduct herd testing to determine each herd’s BJD status.

WA is one of the very few regions in the world which is officially classified as BJD-free, and the State has a stringent eradication policy in place to protect that status.

The committee that manages WA’s cattle industry biosecurity fund, which is generated via a 20c/head transaction levy paid by producers,  has agreed to release around $630,000 to compensate affected producers for the loss of the bulls.

The six pastoralists have since received letters from DAFWA advising that they will be suspended from exporting cattle to BJD sensitive markets until the BJD status of their herds can be determined.

The letter advised that Federal Department of Agriculture policy states that any property that is under quarantine, movement restrictions for BJD or, which otherwise does not comply with the importing country requirements for BJD, is ineligible to provide cattle to BJD sensitive markets.

Movement restrictions will remain in place on affected properties until tests from slaughtered animals and herd samples are returned, which can take three to six months from the time samples are collected.

If deemed to be free of the disease, the movement restrictions would be removed, while a positive BJD detection would result in ongoing movement restrictions and extended eradication and testing programs.

A Departmental statement released yesterday said it was in the national interest to maintain access to BJD sensitive markets.

WA was, and remained, a BJD Free Zone, the statement and, and nationally-agreed BJD Standards Definitions and Rules (SDRs) were in place that outlined the steps each State was required to take to resolve suspicion of infection.

“The (Federal) Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has advised to protect these markets DAFF cannot issue export certification for cattle from properties under investigation and movement restrictions for BJD (this applies to BJD sensitive markets).

“The department (DAFWA) currently supports this position and is working with the affected property owners/managers to clear restrictions as soon as possible.

“There are ongoing discussions between industry and government, including at a State and Federal level, on this matter.”

On the progress of the cattle cull on the six affected properties, the department said it was working with each property’s owner or manager on individual management plans to remove the traced bulls and to conduct sample testing to resolve each herd’s status.

“Mustering has commenced on three of the trace properties and department veterinarians and stock inspectors have been deployed to commence herd testing on the properties where mustering is underway.

“Testing strategies are being developed for each herd.
“Options for slaughter of traced bulls and sampling are being assessed and the department will make this a priority to expedite this work.”



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