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Response to AgForce’s views on why Qld must remain a BJD Protected zone

John Croaker, Australian Brahman Breeders Association, 04/07/2013

 

This comment piece, responding to an earlier item on Beef Central “AgForce: Why Queensland must remain a BJD Protected Zone”, has been endorsed by the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association, Santa Gertrudis Association and the BJD Action Coalition

 

 

It is disappointing and offensive that AgForce thinks relevant industry organisations which hold alternative views to its own are “fringe producer groups”.

The Australian Brahman Breeders Association has 1400 stud and commercial members. The Santa Gertrudis Association 700 and the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association represents 40 breeds with a combined membership of more than 8000 nationally.

The BJD Action Coalition, while relatively smaller in membership numbers, has performed an important advocacy role for affected producers and has provided important and highly valued emotional support to those people.  It only serves to highlight how out-of-touch AgForce is over the personal issues being faced by affected producers that it seeks to belittle their contribution.

The claim that AgForce “represents the industry in its entirety” must also be challenged.  The reality is that the organisation has about 5500 members (quoted by CEO Charles Burke) which means it represents less than 30 percent of the Queensland cattle industry.

It is widely recognised that stud herds, which our group represent, are most severely affected by quarantines associated with BJD and where infection is found it is inevitably the end of the business.

We have doubts the disease arrived at the Q24 property in 2005 with its first bag of NLIS tags, and we don’t see a lot of science behind the decision to base trace forward quarantines on this date.  We also have doubts that eradication is achievable in a meaningful way.

There are no demonstrated market access advantages from “Protected Area” status.  If this is incorrect, please state the markets to which Queensland has access that Victoria and Tasmania do not, apart from WA which now requires market assurance MN2 or check test.

Market assurance programs are already a reality for Queensland producers wanting to sell to WA.  Costs associated with this testing are the responsibility of the producer.

A major issue remains the level of financial assistance available to affected producers.

It is disappointing and somewhat frustrating that after seven months, there are many questions remaining unanswered.

The “National Plan” is in effect a series of state based models with each state having somewhat different requirements and standards for the importation of cattle from other states.

Perhaps it is time we had a re-think of the whole issue and came up with a plan that served Queensland’s interests best, both collectively and individually as producers.

 

 

 

 

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