The wasting disease, caused by a chronic gut infection, is caused by a bug which lives in soil and has a long incubation period. The impact can be stock losses in older sheep.
He said past fragmented and heavy-handed approaches to OJD were detrimental to the country’s genetic export reputation.
“When bureaucrats got a hold of managing OJD, they did some shocking things. We were condemned without any proof. We know that if you feed your animals and look after them, OJD won’t cause you economic harm,” Mr Cole said.
“OJD needs to be a ‘buyer beware’ approach.
“They were going to try and eradicate something they were struggling to test for. It was amazing what devastating decisions were being made with such insufficient evidence.”
Mr Cole is still unable to show his champion-winning stud line at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, in Bendigo, due to this “suspect” status, however is able to exhibit at Sheepvention, Hamilton. “That is a reflection of the inconsistency of management the sheep industry has endured.,” he said.
Agriculture Victoria recommends vaccinating non-slaughter and replacement lambs against OJD if a flock is infected or suspected to be infected.