Nominations now open for 2015 Ralph Hood Award

2014 Ralph Hood Award winner Dr Andrew Bean.

2014 Ralph Hood Award winner Dr Andrew Bean.

Animal Health Australia is looking for passionate, committed people working in the field of animal health to apply for the 2014 Ralph Hood Award of a $15,000 grant for professional development.

Open to all of our members, service providers and associate members, the award acknowledges people with leadership potential and a strong commitment in their organisation or field to improve animal health in Australia.

Dr Andrew Bean, Group Leader, Disease Prevention and Detection at CSIRO’s Biosecurity Flagship was the winner of the 2014 Ralph Hood Award.

With expertise in cellular and molecular immunology specialising in host-pathogen interaction, Dr Bean has developed a research program focused on ‘One Health’, directed at enhancing both animal and human health by identifying new antiviral strategies, developing better therapeutics, vaccines and improving disease diagnosis.

Ms Kathleen Plowman, AHA’s Chief Executive Officer said the award offers considerable flexibility regarding the type of professional development activity that the winner could fund with the prize-money.

“Whilst the spirit of the award is to encourage and develop leadership capability in the area of animal health, the award is not intended to be utilised as a substitute for other sources of research funding,” Ms Plowman said.

Some suggested uses for the prize money include a contribution towards continuing education such as a master’s degree, attendance at an international conference, a national or international study tour, or as financial support for work experience, secondment or internship to work with a recognised expert or a relevant national/international organisation such as the OIE, FAO, WHO or other peak industry body.

“Whilst the AHA Board will be reviewing applications for their relevance to the Australian animal health system, we also want people to be creative and entrepreneurial in their approach. The award aims to foster innovation as well as leadership.”

How to enter

Full details of the award, which is named after former AHA CEO Ralph Hood are available at or download the brochure here.

Entries open: Tuesday 1 September

Deadline for entries: 30 September

The winner will be announced at the AHA Members’ Forum in Canberra on 25 November.


Emergency response hotline said to improve animal welfare outcomes

A new livestock crash assistance hotline aims to improve animal welfare after road accidents.

National Transport Insurance and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) have set up a single phone number that livestock transporters can call if they are involved in a crash.

Once a call centre operator has been contacted, the centre will contact relevant authorities and co-ordinate a response plan on behalf of the operator at the scene.

Transporters say emergency response hotline will improve animal welfare outcomes after livestock truck crashes – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

National Transport Insurance (NTI) industrial relations manager Owen Driscoll said the hotline would improve both road safety and animal welfare. Read more.

(Source: ABC Rural – Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

National Guidelines for Ramps and Forcing Yards released

ALRTA-Ramps-Guide-FINAL COVERThe Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) is pleased to announce that its national ‘Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards’  is now available.

The purpose of the voluntary guide is to promote safer workplaces for people in contact with livestock loading facilities and to improve animal welfare outcomes.

Legislation requires that workplace safety risks be controlled as far as is reasonably practicable. Australian Animal Welfare Standards require livestock handling facilities be constructed, maintained and operated in a way that minimises risks to the welfare of livestock.

The Guide summarises the potential hazards of livestock loading ramps and forcing yards and practical examples of ways to control associated risks for different types of facilities.  General principles are identified as well as a series of model ramp designs, ranging from low-cost basic designs for farms to more advanced commercial designs.

The material has been developed in close consultation with key stakeholders in the livestock supply chain including animal producers, transporters, feedlots, saleyards, exporters, equipment manufacturers, welfare groups and safety authorities.

Animal Health Australia Sixteen formal submissions were received during the four week public consultation period (6 May to 3 June 2015) and the final guide has been revised in response to specific stakeholder suggestions.  The ALRTA greatly appreciates the time and effort contributed by all respondents.

To obtain a copy of the Guide:

If you would like more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat on (02) 6247 5434 or

Hendra virus vaccine receives registration from APVMA

The Australian PesticideAustralian Stock Horse foals and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has registered the Hendra virus vaccine, Equivac® HeV, after nearly three years of positive uptake.

Equivac® HeV passed every assessment criteria for registration according to the APVMA, who says it has amongst the most detailed assessment processes in the world before a product is registered.

Following rigorous safety testing at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), CSIRO along with its partners, launched the Equivac® HeV vaccine in November 2012, in response to the growing number of outbreaks and subsequent horse deaths in Queensland and New South Wales.

Full registration comes less than two weeks after reports of a second Hendra virus outbreak in as little as six weeks, where a horse was euthanased on a property in far north Queensland.

To date, the Hendra virus has resulted in more than 90 horse deaths and four human deaths. The Hendra virus infection can occur at any time of the year, so horse owners are encouraged to take steps to protect themselves and their animals at all times.

Even if a horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus, people in in contact with horses need to remember to continue to practice good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures.

If a horse becomes sick, owners should contact their veterinarian immediately.

Hendra virus resources

Information on the prevention of Hendra virus or biosecurity steps in an incident, visit or call 13 25 23.

Information on the vaccine, including safety information visit

Information regarding the registration of Equivac® HeV, please visit

Farm biosecurity toolkit

Want to keep your property and animals free from diseases, pests and weeds? Look no further than Find tools, tips and manuals to help you implement farm biosecurity on your property or create your own profile tailored to your farm.

New NLIS website makes life easier for producers

NLISThe National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) has announced the launch of a new website with an updated and simple navigation system that makes finding information more intuitive, new account creation and login capabilities, and an enhanced design suitable for use on smart phones and tablets.

“The new website provides a superior user experience, for both new and existing NLIS account holders,” NLIS Chairman John Wyld said.

“The implementation of a straight forward and easy to use system for user registration and log in was at the top of our wish list, while new content will help producers and other NLIS participants find information quickly and efficiently.”

NLIS is Australia’s system for identifying cattle, sheep and goats with a permanent device or tag designed to remain with an animal for life. It plays a critical role in the integrity system that underpins Australia’s international reputation as a producer of safe red meat.

Producers will be able to stay up-to-date with the latest news about the NLIS, and find answers to important NLIS-related questions, such as how to record livestock movements or buy NLIS devices.

“The website succinctly links to the NLIS database and therefore underpins our objectives for traceability within the red meat livestock industry, and reinforces our commitment to providing the best user experience possible for NLIS participants,” Mr Wyld said.

“By shifting our focus onto the tasks producers need to do for the NLIS, we’re demonstrating how it can workeffectively and in a time efficient manner.”

Key features include:

  • A simple navigation system that makes finding out information about the NLIS easy andintuitive
  • New ‘FAQ’ and content areas
  • A more attractive, contemporary design suitable for producers to use on the go via mobilephone or tablet
  • Enhanced account creation, forgotten password and login capabilities

NLIS Manager Stephen Doughty said the website had been relaunched as part of an upgrade of the NLIS database, and when completed, the upgraded database would offer greater value for users.

“Since the inception of the NLIS in 1999, we have played a vital role in identifying and tracing Australia’s livestock and in reflecting Australia’s commitment to biosecurity and food safety.

“To continue to deliver value to producers and to take advantage of newer and better technologies, NLIS Ltd has launched a technology upgrade project of which the new web site was a leading priority.”

The new website can be found at

Users are encouraged to provide feedback to

Oink! New site for pig owners

Two-pigsDid you know that a healthy pig should have a heart rate of 55–86 beats a minute, has a body temperature of 39.3 degrees Celsius and takes approximately 18 breaths a minute?

These helpful pig health facts are just a small selection taken from the wealth of information now available at the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and Food’s (DAFWA) new website – Pig Central.

Animal Health Australia’s Executive Manager, Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland, applauded the initiative by DAFWA, highlighting that although it was developed for WA small land-holding pig owners, much of the information at Pig Central is useful for all pig owners, across the country.

“Pig Central is a great place to start for new pig owners and pork producers looking to get a better understanding about keeping pigs happy and healthy.”

“The website has fact sheets on pig housing, feeding and welfare, up-to-date biosecurity tips and an interactive discussion board with opportunities for owners to share photos, videos and stories.”

“Together with the Farm Biosecurity pig industry page which includes the National Biosecurity Manual for Pork Production, Australian Pork Limited’s webpage on pig biosecurity and a variety of  pig-specific information from the other state jurisdictions, pig owners and large-scale pork producers have plenty of biosecurity knowledge at their fingertips,” Mr Rowland said.

If you have a pig biosecurity question specific to your state or territory contact your local veterinarian or government vet.

Vet students embrace the challenge of on-farm biosecurity

On-farm biosecurity planning has been included for the first time into the University of Queensland’s School of Veterinary Science course curriculum to improve outcomes for farms and animals across the country.

Catering to the variety of biosecurity needs, regulatory requirements and industry standards of practice, in the many different sectors within the livestock production system, can be challenging even for the most experienced veterinarians. From large-scale, multi-property commercial enterprises to hobby farmers looking after a lifestyle block, there are a number of measures that can be to put in place to mitigate biosecurity risks.

In an effort to equip the next generation of veterinarians with this wealth of knowledge they need, Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN) has teamed up with University of Queensland (UQ) School of Veterinary Science (SVS) to include on-farm biosecurity planning in the third year veterinary curriculum.

“Biosecurity planning helps students realise the importance of taking the entire farming system into account when trying to manage disease and animal product safety risks,” says Dr David McNeill, course coordinator at School of Veterinary Science (SVS), UQ.

“They must consider the system from the ground up and right along the food and fibre supply chain to the consumer that could be anywhere in the world.”

The University of Queensland currently ranks in the top 100 of Universities in the world. Dr McNeill says this proactive approach to integrated student learning and real world issues places students in a prime position to advance as professionals of the future.

The course also prepares those students who will work with production animals in the future, whether on commercial enterprises or smaller hobby farms.

“For many small and hobby farmers, the local vet may be the only person with biosecurity knowledge they ever come into contact with,” says Northern Australia LBN Regional Officer Dr Sarah-Jane Wilson, who helps teach at UQ’s SVS.

“For instance, many lifestyle farmers are not aware they need to register for a property identification code, even if they have just one head of livestock. We are assisting the students in understanding the mandatory elements of keeping livestock and exposing them to theoretical case studies that include real world biosecurity issues, to help prepare them for almost every eventuality.”

LBN is an industry initiative servicing all sectors of the sheep and cattle industries. It aims to improve the knowledge and understanding of animal health, welfare and biosecurity among key stakeholders, and works with government and industry partners to help protect livestock industries from emergency animal diseases.

Dr Wilson says UQ’s training program will help to strengthen the livestock industry’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks and deal with emergencies, should they occur. Encouraging students to think more holistically about livestock systems also builds their confidence in helping their clients comply with biosecurity requirements.

“Veterinary science is not just about saving a diseased animal,” adds Dr McNeill. “That’s why we teach students to step back and look at the big picture of the enterprise, understanding how the regulatory requirements support the ongoing trade capacity of our livestock industries.”

Farm biosecurity toolkit

PlannerWant to keep your property free from diseases, pests and weeds? Look no further than Find tools, tips and manuals to help you implement farm biosecurity on your property or create your own profile tailored to your farm.

Also add to your biosecurity arsenal by downloading the free biosecurity planner.


HenSupport becomes Barnhealth!

AHA_POU_009As part of a suite of improvements, HenSupport has changed its name to Barnhealth.

Egg farmers will now have free access to the new and improved Disorder Identification Tool (DTECT) as well as technical articles, news stories and case studies. is a web-based resource providing knowledge and information interfaces that assist to identify issues that affect livestock performance.

Developed with the assistance of the world-leading veterinarians, scientists, and nutritionists; Barnhealth’s flagship solutions DTECT and Library assists users to identify and eliminate performance barriers, prevent mortalities, and sustain or improve production yields; maximising their flocks’ health, yield and quality while minimising costs.

Hatch your own biosecurity plan with egg manual

Egg producers should ensure their biosecurity toolkits contain a copy of the National Farm Biosecurity Technical Manual for Egg Production, produced by Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) and Animal Health Australia (AHA).

The Manual covers all aspects of egg production, from the time of delivery of new layers until depopulation of the spent layer hens, including transportation and delivery of point of lay pullets.

A PDF of the Manual can be downloaded for free on the Farm Biosecurity website or contact AECL at

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 or call 13 25 23. For information on the vaccine, visit

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 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.