Small Farms

Producer interest front and centre in national approach to managing BJD

The interests of Australian cattle producers have driven the development of the Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD) Framework document.

The Framework outlines a fresh approach to the management of the endemic disease and is the result of 12 months of consultation and evaluation of existing practices, led by Animal Health Australia (AHA) on behalf of industry.

The Framework clearly outlines how Australia will manage BJD into the future and shifts the focus of BJD management to the wider biosecurity practice of reduction and management of all diseases, said AHA’s Executive Manager of Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland.

“Throughout the consultation period, time and time again, producers talked about the significant emotional and financial stress they faced when dealing with existing BJD management regulations. So while this new approach introduces a substantial shift in thinking, better biosecurity awareness and practices will provide a safer environment for producers to operate in,” said Mr Rowland.

“The new Framework recognises the key role producers have in the management of diseases on their property and for that reason producers are the very cornerstone of the new approach.

“This doesn’t mean that producers now have to carry the responsibility on their own. The management of BJD will continue to be a shared responsibility between government, the industry and producers. In fact, the deregulation and removal of zoning will be led by the state and territory governments, with the time frame for implementation resting with them,” said Mr Rowland.

The successful introduction of this new approach will require substantial communication efforts to assist producers (and interested stakeholders) in understanding the new approach, its operation and its effects.

“A national communications plan is currently being developed to ensure all affected parties are informed, engaged and kept up-to-date about the changes.

“A key component of this communications plan will be a public forum. This forum will provide the ideal opportunity to talk first-hand with producers and address any questions they may have about the new way forward,” said Mr Rowland.

AHA will continue to work with industry and government to ensure the Framework is implemented as smoothly and quickly as possible to enhance the biosecurity credentials of Australia’s cattle industry.

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