The Queensland Government is seeking feedback about cattle pregnancy testing and ovarian scanning for commercial purposes and scientific research.
Currently, only registered veterinarian surgeons can conduct pregnancy testing of cattle or ovarian scanning for payment.
Producer representative group AgForce has argued for several years this restriction has placed Queensland producers at a competitive disadvantage to their counterparts in Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales where pregnancy testing by non-veterinarians is allowed.
Queensland agriculture minister Mark Furner said the Queensland Government now wants to hear from stakeholders to help it to determine the benefit to industry if people other than veterinarian surgeons can conduct pregnancy testing and ovarian scanning.
AgForce says laws preventing lay pregnancy testing of cattle mean it can be costly and difficult, and at times impossible, for Queensland producers to find veterinarians within required time frames, particularly in remote areas when a consignment has been sold to fill the final stages of a live export shipment and requires pregnancy testing at short notice.
AgForce also wants the Queensland Act amended to enable non-vets to use ultrasound technology as well as manual palpation.
Veterinarians have previously opposed the Queensland push over concerns it will undermine the accuracy of pregnancy testing in the State and could reduce animal welfare standards.
Vets have also voiced concern that allowing pregnancy testing by lay people could cause country-based vets to lose a core component of their work and revenue that keeps their practices viable, which could have the unintended consequence of resulting in fewer vets operating in remote areas.
The Queensland Government is inviting industry stakeholders to have their say on the issue.
“The consultation process will help us to determine the benefit to industry if people other than veterinarian surgeons can conduct pregnancy testing and ovarian scanning,”Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said.
“It will also look at whether there are any animal welfare implications, and if there would be any impacts on private veterinary services.
“The Queensland Government is encouraging submissions from veterinary surgeons, cattle pregnancy testing specialists, interested laypersons, beef and dairy producers, live exporters, animal welfare representatives, peak industry bodies and the community.”
The closing date for feedback is 14 December 2018.