Stock Health Monitor goes digital

Animal Health Australia’s specialist publication about livestock production conditions, Stock Health Monitor, is going digital.

The last print issue of SHM will be available next week.

The last print issue of SHM will be available next week.

The final print issue of the bi-annual newsletter, the autumn/winter edition, will be hitting mailboxes in the next week.

The move caters for increasing internet usage by a growing number of producers* in Australia who will now have the opportunity to enjoy SHM delivered straight to their inboxes.

SHM provides Australia’s alpaca, cattle, goat and sheep producer communities with the latest information on avoiding, managing and controlling livestock production conditions, implementing best practice on-farm biosecurity measures and updates on the latest research and development.

It is a joint initiative between AHA and livestock industries in recognition that livestock production conditions impact the red meat value chain and Australia’s market access certification requirements.

SHM is published twice year; in spring/summer and autumn/winter.


Stories in this issue include:

  • Public called in to help plot a new path for managing BJD in Australia
  • Cattle producers’ help wanted
  • Annual snapshot provides valuable insight into the health of our national sheep flock
  • Managing CAE – keeping your goats productive and contented
  • News roundup

Download the autumn/winter issue of SHM here.

Tell us what you think

We welcome feedback and contributions to SHM. If you have a story you would like considered for publication, please email

Articles should be around 200-600 words. Please note that any submissions will be edited for clarity, style and length to ensure they fit meet AHA style and standards.

Photos are greatly appreciated but should be high resolution – 300 dpi or larger than 2MB. Please provide a photo credit and written confirmation that you have permission to use it (e.g. name, organisation, date).

We hope you enjoy reading this issue of SHM!

*Farm Biosecurity 2013 Producer Survey Summary


AHA is moving!

We are very pleased to announce that our office will be relocated to the following address as of 13 July 2015.


Level 2, 95 Northbourne Avenue

Turner ACT 2612


Please note the new mailing address:

PO BOX 5116

Braddon ACT 2612


Our office phone numbers and emails will remain the same.

An easy stroll to Canberra’s CBD, AHA’s new office location will provide better access to central amenities such as parking, accommodation, restaurants and other industry organisations located close by.

The bigger, new office allows us to accommodate visitors more effectively, with added facilities available to AHA Members and stakeholders to use; including small and large meeting rooms (up to 40 people), as well as other a range of other services to ensure a productive and comfortable stay in the Nation’s Capital.

AHA’s current office in Deakin will remain open until 10 July 2015.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new premises soon.

Help shape a national approach to managing BJD

 Paul Vallier

Photo: Paul Vallier

Australian producers are invited to comment on a second discussion paper published as part of the National Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) Review which is helping determine the future of BJD management in Australia.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) is coordinating the Review and is seeking submissions from all interested parties and in particular is keen to hear feedback on the Looking Ahead sections in the paper.

“Following two rounds of constructive public feedback we are now asking for the public’s assistance in reviewing the proposed steps to move the Review into its next phase,” said AHA’s Executive Manager of Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland.

“Importantly, this third round of feedback will provide a useful guide to help us get a clearer understanding that the progress being made by the Review’s reference panel is on the right track.

“This round of submissions will be used by the Review’s reference panel to revise existing or develop new systems and tools required for a successful national approach to the management of Johne’s disease in cattle.”

Submissions on the discussion paper will be received from any interested parties up to midnight on 29 June 2015, with all submissions being made public, unless otherwise requested, and placed on the Review’s webpage.

“Public consultation on this second discussion paper is the third of five opportunities provided for public feedback on the development of future BJD activities in Australia,” Mr Rowland added.

“The reference panel will meet again on 21 July to review the submissions and progress the development of the new plan and members of the public interested in sharing their feedback are invited to attend the meeting in the morning to discuss the review.”

The discussion paper and further information on the National BJD Review can be found on the AHA website at

Enquiries into the Review can be sent to

The National BJD Strategic Plan is a cooperative program involving Australian livestock industries, government and the veterinary profession to help cattle industries reduce the spread and impact of BJD in Australia.

Australian CVO assumes Vice-Presidency of OIE

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, is the new Vice President of the OIE.

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, is the new Vice President of the OIE.

Australia’s expertise in international animal health issues and standard-setting has been recognised with the election of Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, as Vice President of the World Assembly of the Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said Australia would be in a unique position to contribute to and influence the work of the OIE, with a number of other Australians also elected to key positions on the four Specialist Commissions of the OIE.

“Australia is a world-leader in animal health and disease control issues, and I am pleased to see this being recognised in this important international forum,” Minister Joyce said.

“Department of Agriculture expert Dr Ingo Ernst has been elected as President of the Aquatics Commission. Dr Jef Hammond of the NSW Department of Primary Industries was also elected as Vice President of the Scientific Commission, Dr Peter Thornber (formerly of the Department of Agriculture) was reappointed as a member of the Animal Welfare Working Group, and Dr Peter Daniels (formerly of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory) was re-elected as a member of the Biologicals Commission.

“The OIE sets health standards for international trade in animals and animal products through its expertise in animal health and disease control issues.

“Through our new roles in the OIE, I am pleased that Australia will have the opportunity to make an even more significant contribution to a range of important animal health and trade issues that affect our producers.

“Our involvement in the OIE helps us ensure we have science-based standards that achieve their purpose without imposing an unnecessary burden on Australian producers, while also protecting producers and consumers from biosecurity threats posed by lax standards.

“Australia also contributes to the development of OIE standards to ensure there is minimal impact on trade in the event of an emergency disease outbreak, allowing producers to regain markets as quickly as possible.

“As the OIE’s focus expands into standard-setting for broader areas such as antimicrobial resistance, having a strong voice in this forum will be an asset to our producers.

“For example, as anti-microbial resistance gathers importance globally, Australia has advocated for the development of OIE standards that will highlight our judicious use of antimicrobials compared with other countries, which may provide a competitive advantage for Australian producers.

“I congratulate Dr Schipp, Dr Ernst, Dr Daniels, Dr Thornber and Dr Hammond on their appointments, and wish them all the best in their new roles.”​

Exercise Slapstick shows emergency vaccinations are a serious contender in controlling an FMD outbreak

Matthew Phillips from NJ Phillips with Dr Kathy Gibson, AHA.

Matthew Phillips from NJ Phillips with Dr Kathy Gibson, Manager Training Services at AHA.

National rapid response team (RRT) personnel, vaccine experts, industry and government stakeholders from across Australia recently participated in a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccination exercise held in southeast Queensland.

The overall aim of the national exercise was to enhance Queensland’s and Australia’s preparedness for an FMD incident should it occur in Australia.

Named after a piece of vaccination equipment, Exercise Slapstick was written and coordinated by Animal Health Australia (AHA) in partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.

Dr Mark Cozens (Qld DAF) said the exercise confirmed that the decisions to use emergency vaccination to control FMD and how to apply vaccination are complex and depend on many factors.

‘The exercise identified that decisions surrounding the use of emergency FMD vaccination will have to be made under considerable uncertainty, including whether vaccination would be beneficial in terms of expediting disease freedom and regaining market access,” Dr Cozens added.

AHA’s Manager Training Services, Dr Kathy Gibson, said the exercise also helped to identify logistical and operational issues with respect to vaccination in a regional area.

“It also helped to increase RRT members’ knowledge of the planning and resource needs of the vaccination component of an FMD response,” Dr Gibson added.

The exercise included a visit to a working feedlot and demonstrations of vaccination equipment from NJ Phillips.

The exercise was independently evaluated by Wilna Vosloo, an expert in FMD and FMD vaccines from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong. Ms Vosloo stated that the exercise was “very well planned and managed”.

“The close collaboration between AHA, Department of Agriculture and Biosecurity Queensland resulted in a credible, well thought-through exercise.

“This exercise clearly indicated the complexity when vaccination will be used as a control measure for FMD. The exercise fulfilled its objectives but highlighted areas in vaccination policies and procedures that could be enhanced.”

For more information please contact:

Dr Kathy Gibson, Manager Training Services, Animal Health Australia on 02 6203 3955 or email

Dr Mark Cozens, Principal Veterinary Officer of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 07 5453 5975 or email

Animal Health in Australia 2014 report released

AHiA2014CoverThe latest report of Australia’s animal health status, Animal Health in Australia 2014, is now available on the Animal Health Australia (AHA) website.

AHiA is an annual report prepared and distributed to delegates at the General Session of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) conference held in Paris, France each year.

Reaching international and national audiences including trading partners, industry and animal health services in Australia, the report is an important tool in outlining Australia’s animal health status to overseas markets.

AHA CEO Ms Kathleen Plowman said the report serves an important function in enhancing the reputation of Australia’s livestock industries and the underpinning animal health arrangements.

“This comprehensive report demonstrates the reputation and animal health status of Australia’s livestock industries. It helps Australian producers maintain access to valuable existing overseas markets and contributes to the development of new markets for livestock, meat and other animal products,” Ms Plowman said.

“These aspects are underpinned by an integrated animal health system, which collates information from many activities. The report is also a valuable resource for all animal health stakeholders as a summary of current activities.”

Produced by AHA, the report is the culmination of key partnerships between AHA, the Australian Government, state and territory agencies and livestock industry organisations.

The 2014 report is now available from the AHA website at or by emailing Any feedback on the report is also welcome.

National strategy to tackle antibiotic overuse in livestock and people


Image: CSIRO

Animal Health Australia (AHA) welcomes the release of the new national strategy announced this week that aims to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

In a joint statement, Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, and Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said Australia’s first Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Strategy would address the decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics because of the rise of resistance in disease-causing bacteria.

Developed in partnership with industry and government, the strategy will guide action by governments, health professionals, veterinarians, farmers and communities to reduce the emergence of resistant bacteria which are becoming increasingly more difficult to treat.

AHA and its Members were consulted during the development of the strategy and will continue to be involved in its implementation.

Minister for Health, Sussan Ley said that the over and misuse of antibiotics has been identified as a significant contributor to the emergence of resistant bacteria.

“The new national approach focuses on measures that will prevent disease-causing bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics as well as driving down the inappropriate use of antibiotics.”

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce added that the strategy will also guide actions to monitor, and seek to minimise, the development of antimicrobial resistance in livestock.

“With good administration of antibiotics in both humans and animals, there will be real public health benefits and enhancements to the productivity, quality and reputation of the livestock industry.”

“Stakeholders from across the human health, animal health, food and agriculture sectors, as well as states and territory governments will be crucial in implementing this strategy, and we’re working closely with these stakeholders on the implementation plan,” Minister Joyce said.

The release of Australia’s strategy comes following discussions at the World Health Assembly last week to agree to a global strategy for responding to the threat of antimicrobial resistance.

To read the National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2015–2019, visit​ or

Key stakeholders come together to promote better livestock welfare during road transport

RSeveral new initiatives to improve safety and welfare outcomes for domestic livestock transport were discussed in Canberra early June, including the development of a new 24hr national emergency hotline, LivestockASSIST, for drivers involved in vehicle incidents.

A representative from Animal Health Australia (AHA) met with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALTRA) and National Transport Insurance (NTI) to discuss the new hotline as well as the draft National Guidelines for the Safe Design of Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards.

Developed by ALTRA and NTI, LivestockASSIST will be used for vehicle incidents such as breakdowns, collisions and non-vehicle incidents e.g. stock injury, abandoned vehicle, climatic conditions, disease outbreak, and driver sickness/injury.

A merger of the existing TruckCare and TruckSafe initiatives, LivestockASSIST – to be launched in July – will be available to all species, drivers and industries; even if they aren’t members of ALTRA.

Upon ringing the hotline after an incident, the caller will be directed to the closest stock person who can then provide advice and have the necessary contacts to deal with the situation.

AHA’s Project Officer, Livestock Welfare & Endemic Disease, Kelly Wall, said it is “a great industry initiative that promotes and improves animal welfare”.

“AHA is committed to working in partnership with ALTRA to finalise and launch LivestockASSIST. AHA also provided advice in regards to the draft National Guidelines for the Safe Design of Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards.

LivestockASSIST and the national loading ramps and forcing ramps guidelines will be officially launched at ALTRA’s National Conference in Bunbury WA, 3–4 July 2015.

For more information contact ALTRA on 02 6247 5434, email or visit the website


Tocal College celebrates its ‘Golden Jubilee’ in July


Celebrate Tocal College’s 50th Anniversary at ‘Back to Tocal’ on 25–26 July.

Tocal College has been the centre of agricultural education for over five decades and this year marks the 50th Anniversary since the college welcomed its first 15 students in March 1965. Since then, hundreds of students have graduated from the College, going on to a variety of careers all over Australia.

The College will be celebrating its half-century with several events throughout the year, spearheaded by Back to Tocal, a weekend-long celebration on the 25–26 July.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) would like to congratulate Tocal College on delivering 50 years of leading agricultural and conservation land management education.

AHA has a longstanding relationship with Tocal College, with the two organisations partnering to facilitate and deliver a range of emergency animal disease (EAD) training and biosecurity programs under the Australian Qualifications Training Framework.

The partnership between AHA and Tocal spans more than 10 years, and is the longest continuous relationship the College has had with any other organisation.

“In an ever-changing agricultural landscape, Tocal College is proud to have such a continuous, stable and focussed relationship as we do with AHA,” Tocal College’s Manager Education Delivery, Darren Bayley, said.

“We look forward to continuing this relationship well into the future.”

All former students, college staff and the community is invited to come Back to Tocal, with the event offer the unique chance to reconnect with old friends and revisit the campus and farms.

Activities during the event include guided walking and coach tours running all weekend, as well as live music and a bonfire on Saturday night.

For more information follow Tocal College on Facebook and Twitter, or visit and download a booking form for the Back to Tocal event.

Change or fail: Why human behaviour matters for pest animal control

The new guide explores attitudes and behaviours around pest control.

The new guide explores attitudes and behaviours around pest control.

Is it a pest problem or a people problem when managing the complex challenge of pest animals? The essential ingredient of pest animal communications – to deploy what we know about human behaviour – is being promoted in a new practical guide from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the University of New England.

The publication, Behaviourally Effective Communications for Invasive Animals Management: A Practical Guide, aims to make life easier for communication practitioners by explaining in plain English how advances in psychology can change behaviour and empower farmers and land managers to adopt new approaches for best practice pest animal control.

The lead author of the guide, Professor Don Hine from the University of New England, said most traditional communications aimed to increase awareness and change attitudes. But he said a significant body of research revealed a big gap between attitude and behaviour.

“Changing someone’s mind, or convincing them about an issue, doesn’t automatically translate into changing their behaviour,” Professor Hine said. “For example, think of the last time you resolved to go on a diet or exercise more. How often do your well-informed attitudes and best intentions fail to result in sustained behaviour change?”

Professor Hine said many of the problems associated with pest animal management were really problems of human behaviour.

“No matter what toxins, guns or other technologies are used, you still need a person to go out there and lay the bait, pull the trigger or install the ejector,” he said. “The big question is how do we get people to do that?”

In addition to laying out solutions from the behavioural sciences in the guide, Professor Hine’s team will conduct workshops later this year to help communications practitioners bridge the gap between theory and practice.

“If you’re working on the ground undertaking pest animal control, or you’re tasked with developing communications, we’re hoping this guide and the workshops will make your job easier.”

Download Behaviourally Effective Communications for Invasive Animals Management: A Practical Guide at PestSmart Connect.