Cow Brains Needed to Prove Australia is BSE Free

AUSTRALIA - Biosecurity Queensland, a specialist unit of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F), has announced that it is willing to pay out top dollar for samples of cattle and sheep brains in order to prove to oversea buyers that Australia is mad cow free.
calendar icon 4 June 2008
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Queensland and Australia remain free of mad cow disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) but need to prove this every year by conducting regular national surveillance to a standard set by the World Organisation for Animal Health, the OIE.

Biosecurity Queensland today put out the call to local producers and vets to urgently get in contact with the DPI&F if they have cattle and sheep showing nervous disorders and are willing to submit brain samples.

"It's vitally important that Queensland meets its annual quota for brain samples"
Laurie Dowling, Acting DPI&F General Manager (Animal Biosecurity)

Laurie Dowling, Acting DPI&F General Manager (Animal Biosecurity) said animals showing progressive behavioural changes, such as excitability or apprehension, are just what the program is looking for.

"This national surveillance program is critical to maintaining overseas market access for Australian meat products, and it's vitally important that Queensland meets its annual quota for brain samples," Dr Dowling said.

"Under the scheme, producers are reimbursed $150 for sampled cattle and $25 for sampled sheep.

"Producers also get the added benefit of a diagnosis of what actually has affected their animal.

"For example, some of these investigations have led to the discovery of rare genetic disorders in the producer's herds that led to changes in breeding programs resulting in avoiding future losses," Dr Dowling said.

Eligible cattle need to be 30 months of age or older, while sheep need to be 18 months of age or older.

Over 1,500 Queensland cattle and 300 Queensland sheep have tested negative since the national surveillance program began in 1998.

To get involved in the National Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance program, speak to your local biosecurity inspector or call DPI&F on 13 25 23.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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