It was interesting to hear radio reports where Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager Duncan Rowland compared the future purchasing of cattle under the AHA proposed new BJD management scheme to someone currently buying a used car. In the ABC radio report last Thursday Duncan Rowland was spinning the line that a car buyer could get someone (like the RACQ) to inspect the car or they could just look at it and take it for a drive to reduce risk of being ripped off with the implication that it would be the same with buying cattle in Queensland.
What Mr Rowland fails to mention is that a used car buyer must receive a government mandated safety certificate or what used to be called a road worthiness certificate issued by a qualified and authorised entity. While this does not indicate value for money or suitability for purpose, it indicates that the vehicle is safe and is what it appears to be. Further the car buyer can go to the relevant government agency website and access data as to whether there is any legal issue in the title of the vehicle which means for example the purchaser can be assured the vehicle is not stolen. If the government did have accredited inspectors test cattle and give assurances they were free of BJD, or other notable diseases, and access a website that had the movement history, health status of the cattle and close relatives available to the buyer, then you could say it would be like buying a used car.
So while the AHA spin the “like buying a car” story, what Duncan Rowland should be truthful about and said is that the AHA, eagerly assisted by the Queensland DPI, is trying to impose a system that avoids giving any of the protections afforded to a used car buyer and would leave farmers exposed to much higher biosecurity risks. In this regard QDO has sent letters to Minister Donaldson on biosecurity issues including BJD and Ticks which I urge the Minister to personally read rather than receiving a summary filtered by the departmental advisors. This is because AHA and the department are trying to sell us a lemon but Queensland Dairy is not buying it and neither should Minister Donaldson.