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Producers, industry back new OJD direction

Posted by Bestprac on Apr 01 2013

Sheepmeat Council of Australia and WoolProducers Australia

Sheep producers and industry bodies are supporting the broad direction of the new Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD) National Management Plan.

WoolProducers Australia (WPA) and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) sought feedback from producers and industry on a policy discussion paper released in late January.

WPA and SCA have reviewed and analysed the 60 submissions received from both individuals and representative bodies, and while there were a range of views presented, there was support for the general direction of the new plan.

“Historically, industry has held divergent views about OJD management. This is an ongoing challenge for us but there appears to be broad support for this new direction,” WPA President Geoff Power said.

“A number of ideas and comments were provided on specific aspects of the plan, which WPA and SCA have considered carefully as we move to formalise the policy ahead of the 1 July 2013 start date.”

Key features of the 2013-2018 National OJD Management Plan are:

  • A management system that relies on a risk management approach and greater producer responsibility.
  • Continuation of Sheep Health Statements (SHS) but the removal of the current ABC point scheme. The ABC Scheme was built around the existence of recognised prevalence areas which will no longer exist.
  • Encouragement for producers to collectively develop their own Regional Biosecurity Plans (RBPs), due to the added effectiveness of a collective approach. The majority of submissions that discussed RBPs were looking for clarification as to how they will operate. Guidelines will be provided to assist groups of producers in preparing RBPs.
  • No control or protected areas. Of the submissions which commented on this point, a majority favoured the dismantling of zones. While some submissions were in favour of zoning, this option is untenable due to the lack of a formal approval process for Regional Biosecurity Plans by State Governments.

SCA President Ian McColl said the areas where most feedback was received was the SHS and lack of recognition of vaccination, indicating that more detailed work was required in the area of risk assessment and the SHS.

“We have established a clear process to seek more detailed input from key stakeholders on tools used to assess the status of sheep and to finalise the SHS,” Mr McColl said.

The process will report to WPA and SCA in mid April.”

WPA and SCA have placed an increased emphasis on extension and communication activities to assist producers and industry to understand the new system.

The peak bodies have also confirmed that abattoir monitoring will continue as a means of providing individuals and regions with information on the prevalence of OJD.

While a number of submissions were critical of abattoir testing, it remains the most cost-effective means of identifying a broad range of diseases affecting the sheep industry.

A number of submissions supported further funding of OJD research and development work. The majority of suggestions put forward related to R&D already being conducted or under consideration.

These R&D activities will continue to be funded under the OJD Management Plan, with a greater emphasis placed on communicating these activities to industry.
Michael Thomson; Cox Inall 07 4927 0805 or 0408 819 666
Suzanne Lewis; Cox Inall 02 8204 3853 or 0404 116 905

Last changed: Apr 02 2013



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