Use your Brains: Show Australia is Free of ‘Mad Cow’ Disease

AUSTRALIA - Biosecurity SA is calling on cattle and sheep producers to ‘use their brains’ to demonstrate Australia remains free of TSE (transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) otherwise referred to as ‘Mad Cow disease’ or Scrapie in sheep.
calendar icon 30 May 2014
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The national TSE programme (managed in South Australia by Biosecurity SA) provides ongoing proof of freedom of this disease in order to maintain access to international markets by testing brains from cattle and sheep demonstrating neurological signs.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Roger Paskin, said that if any producers had sheep or cattle showing nervous signs they should contact their local veterinarian to see if the animal was eligible for inclusion in the TSE programme.

“This programme has producer and veterinary incentives to cover the costs of the brain collection,” he said.

“The producer’s incentive for sheep brains was doubled to $100 plus GST earlier this year and the price for cattle brains maintained at $300 plus GST.

“Producers can help protect their industry and Australia’s international markets by simply contacting their local veterinarian if they have any sheep or cattle which are staggering, stumbling, shaking, or are down and unable to rise, for example.”

Dr Paskin said herd or flock disease problems that are ineligible for the TSE programme may still be eligible for the National Significant Disease Investigation programme which subsidises the cost of having a livestock disease investigation performed by a private veterinarian.

Laboratory and veterinary fees are subsidised in this programme and it is not restricted to only cattle or sheep demonstrating neurological signs; it covers significant or unusual disease events in any livestock species.

For further information on these programs, producers should contact their local private vet or Biosecurity SA’s Animal Health section on 8207 7900.

Animals showing unusual signs or large disease outbreaks involving sick or dying livestock should immediately be reported to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.


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