Hendra virus case confirmed in north Queensland

Budget boostHorse owners are reminded to take steps to protect their animals from the risk of Hendra virus infection with the confirmation of a new case on the Atherton Tablelands.

Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Allison Crook said a property had been quarantined after a horse died on the site earlier this week.

“Testing has confirmed the horse had the virus,” Dr Crook said.

“This is the first case of Hendra virus detected in Queensland this year.

“There are a number of other horses on the property and we’ll be monitoring them over the coming weeks. Biosecurity staff will also be conducting tracing to confirm whether this horse had any contact with other horses in the area.

“While the property is under quarantine, there are restrictions on the movement of horses and materials on and off the property.”

Dr Crook said Hendra virus infection could occur throughout the year, so it was important that horse owners took steps to protect themselves and their animals at all times.

“Vaccination is the best defence against Hendra virus infection and horse owners should discuss their options with their veterinarian,” she said.

“If a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their veterinarian immediately. People in contact with horses need to remember to continue to practice good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures even if a horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus.”

For more information on prevention of Hendra virus or biosecurity steps in an incident, visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23. For information on the vaccine, visit www.health4horses.com.au

This is a timely reminder for anybody transporting horses to the Brisbane Ekka this year that the RNA requires any exhibitors to demonstrate proof of Hendra virus vaccination.

Follow Biosecurity Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@BiosecurityQld).

Member announcement – contacting AHA

Animal Health Australia has moved to our new premises on level 2, 95 Northbourne Ave but we are currently experiencing difficulties receiving phone calls.

If you would like to contact us please email admin@animalhealthaustralia.com.au or call 0413 687 757.

AHA staff can still be contacted by their individual email addresses or mobile numbers if you know them.

We appreciate your understanding and hope to have this rectified as soon as possible.

Market Assurance Program audits on a short break

The MAP has had a high level of compliance by producers during the past 10 years.

The MAP has had a high level of compliance by producers during the past 10 years.

On 3 July 2015, Market Assurance Program (MAP) audits were placed on hold in recognition of the number of audits already successfully completed by producers, and the high level of compliance demonstrated during the past 10 years.

The livestock councils will use this time to complete the review of their industry’s MAPs and will work with Animal Health Australia (AHA) to enhance the MAP for all industries.

MAP external audits are regularly conducted for participating cattle, goat and sheep MAP producers to help ensure they are meeting their biosecurity obligations that come with running a MAP herd or flock.

AHA’s Biosecurity Officer, Dr Rob Barwell, expressed his thanks to the auditors in helping make the MAP such a robust and important animal health assurance program.

“Since 2006, our external auditors have played a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the Program, and they did this by taking a professional and considered approach when reviewing each and every MAP accredited property.

“I would like to thank the auditors for their commitment and efforts over the years, and we will keep them, and all MAP producers, updated on any new arrangements that will be taking place as we enhance the MAP,” Dr Barwell said.

“In the meantime, the MAPs for all species will continue as normal, with annual veterinary reviews still required,” he added.

For more information, producers can visit Animal Health Australia’s MAP webpage.

Farewell Dr Jeff Fairbrother

Dr Jeff Fairbrother AM, former executive director of both the Australian Poultry Industries Association and the Australian Chicken Meat Federation for 41 years, passed away on Saturday 20 June.

Dr Fairbrother’s significant and enduring contribution to the poultry industry was very highly regarded amongst industry colleagues and government representatives alike.

Between 2003 and 2010, Dr Fairbrother was integral in steering the growth of the Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre in his role as Chair.

In 2008, Dr Fairbrother was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia which recognised his advocacy and research roles in the poultry industry as well as his involvement with policy development in animal health and welfare and food safety standards.

Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) CEO, Kathleen Plowman said Dr Fairbrother provided invaluable input into AHA activities and he will be missed at AHA.

“I have always had a special fondness for Jeff, who made my entry into the world of animal health and AHA so easy. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him to explain and through him I understood the importance of industry’s role, industry collaboration and the potential of the industry forums. I always looked forward to catching up with Jeff at various meetings. He was always highly professionally in his approach mixed with  good humour and a light touch ,” Ms Plowman said.

His attitude and wisdom helped build the strong foundation of  the genuine, constructive and  collaborative relationships between industry and governments of today.

Dr Fairbrother is survived by his wife Judy, his four children and his grandchildren.

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 shm@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

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


It’s a wrap – Exercise Odysseus is a success


Excercise Odysseus wrapped up last month.

Exercise Odysseus was a program of more than 40 activities conducted in 2014–15 by the Australian Government, state and territory governments, livestock and allied industries. The program assessed aspects of Australia’s preparedness to implement a national livestock standstill in response to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

The exercise scenario—based on an outbreak of FMD initially detected in Queensland— was used consistently across the program of activities. Activities focused on the first week of an FMD outbreak when decisions would need to be made about implementing a national livestock standstill and extending the standstill beyond the initial 72 hours.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) was a key partner in Exercise Odysseus, working with government agencies and livestock and associated industries to oversee the planning, conduct and evaluation of activities, which took place in each Australian state and territory throughout 2014.

AHA also manages the professional development of the national emergency animal disease Rapid Response Team (RRT), who also participated in many Exercise Odysseus activities.

Various aspects of a national livestock standstill were considered during Exercise Odysseus, including the roles of government and industry, disease response arrangements, livestock in transit, rapid provision of accurate public information, triggers for declaring a national livestock standstill and the financial costs of implementing a standstill.

Issues associated with either extending the standstill beyond 72 hours or lifting the standstill and transitioning to other movement restrictions were also explored.

Exercise Odysseus provided an opportunity to raise awareness of FMD and its potential impact on our agricultural industries and economy, as well as highlighting the importance of biosecurity practices and surveillance activities for early detection of disease.

For more information about Exercise Odysseus visit the Department of Agriculture webpage.

AHA has moved!

We are very pleased to announce that our office has 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.

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

$1.35 million additional funding for National Wild Dog Action Plan

WilddogThe Government will provide an additional $1.35 million to support the continued implementation of the National Wild Dog Action Plan over the next two years.

 Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, announced the funding in Michelago with the Member for Eden-Monaro, Peter Hendy, and said this funding will provide continuity and certainty for the roll-out of the Plan over the longer term as well as a lever for attracting co-investment dollars from industry and other governments.

Success is dependent on industry, farmers, state and territory governments and the community all playing a role. The Plan provides a model for industry-led action and it is up to all of us to make a difference – ‘working together-working smarter’.

“Wild dogs are estimated to cost Australia’s agricultural sector up to $66 million per year through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs—but no dollar figure can reflect the frustration and distress that wild dog attacks cause for the farmers who put their heart and soul into raising and protecting their livestock,” Minister Joyce said.

“This investment is essential to the long-term protection of the contribution that our livestock industries make to Australia—wool exports alone were worth $2.9 billion to the national economy in 2013-14.

“I commend all parties—industry, governments, farmers, and research agencies including the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)—for the work they have done to date in  developing and implementing this action plan, and I am pleased that this good work will be continuing.”

Animal Health Australia (AHA) played a key role in coordinating technical input about disease risks for the development of the Plan and has also praised the collaborative approach taken to address the national issue of wild dogs in Australia.

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 www.animalhealthaustralia.com.au.

Enquiries into the Review can be sent to bjdreview@animalhealthaustralia.com.au

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.”​