Seeing red over BJD crisis

There are plenty more who say this plan is lunacy and want the disease managed with vaccines

Seeing red over BJD crisis

THE BJD crisis enveloping the Queensland seedstock industry is entering its second nervous week with still more questions than answers over how the disease will be contained let alone eradicated.

Talks in Rockhampton last Friday with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh, AgForce, Cattle Council, the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, concluded with the majority backing the Queensland government's push to have the outbreak eradicated.

There are plenty more, however, who say this plan is lunacy and want the disease to be managed with vaccines and as Choice Cuts was being filmed this week there was speculation the government might be pausing to rethink its approach.

So far there are about 156 stud and commercial operations under quarantine, all with a connection to the Rockley Red Brahman stud in Central Queensland, where the infection was detected late last month.

Critics of Biosecurity Queensland's effort is saying the agency is moving too slow and is being over taxed, not helped by cutbacks to testing services that the LNP Newman government unleashed after the mid year State Budget. Sources within Biosecurity Queensland are saying the workload is so huge, some properties could be in quarantine for up to 18 months. That will send many producers to the wall.

AgForce and the Australian Brahman Breeders Association are still saying the impact on most of the industry will be minimal except for the operations directly affected. Others are saying this spells disaster for Australia's northern beef industry and will wipe out many, especially if the Rockley bulls are traced forward into some of the State's extensive cow herds.

Live ex numbers plunge

JUST when Brahman breeders thought the end of 2012 couldn't get any worse they receive news out of Indonesia that live export numbers will again be slashed in 2013 by about 45,000 head of cattle.

The drop to 80,000 tonnes equates to about 238,000 head, which is a far cry from the 750,000 in 2009 and the 520,000 head that we exported in 2010.

Of course, that was all before Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig took his advice from the ABC, the Greens, Animals Australia and an hysterical public based on images of animal cruelty they had seen on a television current affairs program and suspended the trade for a month last year.

Indonesia says its decision to cut numbers is still on track with its aims to be self-sufficient in beef and other food staples by 2014. Reports are that Indonesia is slaughtering female breeders in a bid to boost its domestic kill, which is doing little to relieve food shortages, price rises and long term goals to provide sustainability and consistency in its supply chain.

If we were on better terms with Indonesia, Australia might be in a better position to offer some friendly advice, but given last year's circus that's unlikely to happen any time soon.

New RSPCA cattle welfare guidelines

As expected, RSPCA has joined the chorus of non-farming organisations with zero stake in the industries they are commenting on to lecture producers about how to do their jobs.

The animal protection group, which more and more looks like an animal rights organisation, has released a set of new cattle welfare guidelines, presumably its first step towards introducing beef products into retail carrying RSPCA certified trademarks.

As foreshadowed by RSPCA chief executive Heather Neil at the Beef Ex national feedlot conference on the Gold Coast earlier this year, on-farm surgical procedures have come in for plenty of attention.

Hot iron branding is out and so too is ear notching. The RSPCA doesn't want calves castrated if they are destined for slaughter prior to sexual maturity. If they are to be castrated then they must be under three months and will require pre and post-procedure pain relief. The same deal applies for the spaying of females.

They also want polled cattle to be sourced instead of horned cattle and instead of dehorning recommend horn trimming instead.

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  • WWF in govt's 2040 vision

    THE Queensland Government's Agriculture Strategy paper outlining its vision to double the value of food production by 2040 has raised some eyebrows with a reference in the document to consulting with WWF's Sustainable Beef Roundtable.

    Queensland beef producers will no doubt be overjoyed to hear their elected government will be talking to WWF on productivity gains, given the good work the extreme conservation group did at undermining graziers during the Beattie Labor Government's term when it meddled in the hugely unpopular vegetation management laws and made life generally miserable for thousands.

    The suggestion that WWF has a sniff of gaining political influence with the LNP and members of Agriculture Minister John McVeigh's office specifically will also likely incense National Party stalwart Ron Boswell, who for months in the Senate has been calling for the Roundtable to be shunned due to the false claims it makes about farming's carbon contribution to the environment and its track record of increasing compliance costs on producers who sign up to their certification schemes.

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    7/12/2012 5:00:21 AM

    The RSPCA guidelines (a 15 page document, of which 5 are cover pages) are not based on science and not economically viable or practically achievable. The beef industry is already subject to and adheres to legislation describeld by the "Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals" It has been extremely proactive by the release and adoption of of the MLA/CCA "Guide to best practice husbandry in beef cattle". It is notable that at the time of writing RSPCA chose to not contribute to the discussions around either document. Agricultural producers are justifed in being suspicious of RSPCA.
    Jen from the bush
    7/12/2012 7:49:55 AM

    Is it true that in USA RSPCA is not allowed to interfere with farming practices? If so, it is time that happened here. Instead of some sort of economic production, au is going to be littered with dear products and broke farmers and poisonous/substandard overseas produce in our shops.
    Get Real
    7/12/2012 9:06:06 PM

    How the hell can it be eradicated if it is already affecting so many and is out there and has been for quite some time. Where is the support for the effected producers, there is none. This disease and others can be managed without all the so called farming lobby representatives and beauricates for farmers being involved.
    8/12/2012 10:48:06 AM

    I really can't believe this. Government by accepting WWF into round table groups. It is knowledgment by government that government in Australia cannot govern as it is elected to do. They have just no idea about supporting agriculture and looking at the worlds best practice farming that we already have. Doesn't government realise one world government will replace them, and there will be no requirement for them either.
    Catttle Advocate
    8/12/2012 2:17:00 PM

    With the RSPCA wanting cattle not to go to saleyards but direct to abattoirs, and dogs not being used in farm yards, how will store and breeding cattle be traded and how will the auction work and how would the RSPCA co-ordinate small lots going to abattoirs? RSPCA concerning saleyards. ''There's certainly the intention to look at what we can do for sheep in the not to distant future.'' If sheep were dealt with the same, how would the RSPCA trade store and breeding sheep?
    Catttle Advocate
    8/12/2012 2:35:32 PM

    An AA website poster, after welcoming a former PETA naked protester, RSPCA BAWP member driven by a desire to see the end of LE, to AA. '' I would like to see the minister responsible for the live export trade and the shadow minister travel with one of these ships with a TV crew, to establish their reaction to travel! '' Have we found some common ground? Is AA and the RSPCA willing to travel on a LE ship that has had 4 film crews travel on it, and can we make it happen through this forum?
    Catttle Advocate
    8/12/2012 2:51:05 PM

    BAWP's 7/6/2011 letter to PM Gillard ''Complaints about the short-term economic impact in especially the NT should not be entertained, it appears that during the last 20yrs or so the beef industry progressively shut down processing plants in Australia's north in order to earn about 10c/kg more from live exports.'' At the same time, the BAWP also publicly demanded that the Gillard Government set up a statutory authority to protect our livestock as they believed our DAFF was unfit for the job.
    Catttle Advocate
    8/12/2012 3:09:22 PM

    Both BAWP and the knowledgeable member for Wills, have not presented an alternative plan: to be considered by our TE cattle owners. AA's new recruit, on the 18/6/2011 gave a speech in front of the Victorian Parliament which concluded with. ''Ban live exports, and no more excuses.'' 1 of the other BLE speakers that day was the knowledgeable member for Wills.
    Choice Cuts with Brad CooperGroup beef writer Brad Cooper presents a video round up of the big news in beef this week.


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    Pleased that common sense has prevailed. Being close to the policy makers cannot be underestimated
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    JohnCarpenter, The lamb and mutton job is going okay- we must be doing some things right.
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    Spot on X. Let the Chinese buy as long as we can buy freely in China