WA still to decide long term strategy for BJD control

Beef Central, 27/06/2016

The Western Australian cattle industry has decided to implement its own interim control measures for bovine Johne’s Disease, when the national BJD framework comes into effect from July 1.

The nationally agreed bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) Framework Document was released by Animal Health Australia on behalf of industry and government in March 2016.

The new national Framework comes into effect 1 July and shifts the management of BJD from regulatory control to an industry-focused market assurance system, in keeping with the management of other endemic diseases.

Chairman of the WA industry BJD Advisory Committee Dr David Jarvie said the prevalence of Johne’s disease in cattle in Western Australia would be low with Western Australia declared provisionally free under the old regulatory system.

Therefore the WA industry had agreed to implement interim border controls to maintain this status while considering a long term strategy for the management of BJD.

A cost benefit analysis that looks at various options from deregulation, minimal regulation to full regulation is being prepared for the industry BJD Advisory Committee to consider and assist the decision making process on any long term regulatory measures to be implemented across the state.

“Removing regulatory controls for BJD in Western Australia would inevitably lead to an increase in BJD incursions into the state,” he said.

“Given that some of Australia’s export markets are sensitive to BJD it is important to consider any economic benefits of protecting WA’s negligible BJD disease prevalence to increase access to these markets.”

The interim border controls are similar to the existing controls and will be funded by contributions to the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme as authorised under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007.

Source:WA industry BJD Advisory Committee. The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia will administer the interim regulatory control measures which take effect on 1 July 2016. For more information on the interim border controls for Western Australia visit the Department of Agriculture and Food website.


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  1. John Gunthorpe, 28/06/2016

    The cost to the WA beef industry of BJD being endemic is negligible according to the good work of MLA. However there are WA stud breeders who have enjoyed the protection afforded by the BJD barrier in denying their clients access to eastern states genetics. These people control their committee and its decisions.

    Unfortunately WA stud breeders’ greed has locked out commercial cattle from WA and resulted in an artificial market due to short supply. Good feed is going to waste because commercial producers cannot get sufficient numbers to match their feed production.

    Producers in the Pilbara and Kimberley are finding it difficult to source sufficient bulls for their stations after the recent good seasonal conditions. WA beef processors are paying over the odds for stock and are being squeezed as export prices retreat.

    Any form of market manipulation is to be resisted but in the name of preventing a disease for which WA have not tested for 12 years is shameful. OJD is endemic in their sheep flock and we know cattle can be infected with BJD from grazing on country where OJD-infected sheep have grazed.

    Any decision WA takes other than following the national strategy will be costly and unnecessary. However if they want to force their commercial cattle producers to pay high prices for what are likely to be substandard genetics, then all we can do is watch them waste their money. All commercial cattle producers must register their concern with these stalling tactics by writing to their WA members of parliament and attending their producer association meetings.

    WA you are so out of step.

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