By Brian Tessmann, QDO President
Last week’s live cattle trade shut down with Japan showed clearly for all to see the potential trade implications Queensland faces when the state government abandons our hard fought Bovine Johnes Disease (BJD) barriers on 1st of July.
While the government and some sectors of the beef industry have tried to down play the incident it is clear that this should be a warning to Minister and the Government. Any plans to introduce new regulations lifting the ban on potentially BJD exposed southern cattle into Queensland must now be reconsidered immediately.
The Queensland dairy industry has battled for decades to maintain its very low prevalence and freedom from BJD. To now face the possibly of losing our ‘BJD free status’ all for a small cost saving that panders to the noisy minority of self-interested groups from both sides of the border is nothing short of devastating.
QDO has lobbied long and hard for a sensible outcome and way forward on Biosecurity issues. BJD is commonplace in the southern dairy industry and is currently being updated to better manage and eventually limit the disease. While the southern states are starting to improve their schemes, Queensland risks undoing the protections that have kept us in main part BLD free. The logic in preparing for the clean-up rather than simply preventing the spill falls short in my books.
A more suitable biosecurity scheme that protects Queensland’s BJD free status must be considered and QDO is willing to work closely and constructively with government to achieve this. We acknowledge that this scheme will take time and resources, but consider any costs incurred minimal in comparison to the costs to the dairy industry incurred from the government dropping BJD protections on 1 July 2016.
Every dairy farmer will need to be very careful and check movement histories when trading cattle otherwise BJD may be very well soon be on your farm.