Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food will subsidise livestock producers to encourage early reporting of suspected exotic disease symptoms.
The Subsidised Disease Investigation Pilot Program aims to increase WA’s surveillance for early detection of exotic animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease and classical swine fever.
Department veterinarian and pilot program coordinator Kevin Hepworth said under the pilot program, producers will be granted a $300 subsidy for veterinary costs associated with disease investigations and a discount on veterinarian travel to their property.
The program would subsidise the investigation of disease in sheep flocks, and goat, cattle or pig herds in cases where the animals show signs similar to exotic or emergency animal diseases.
“Livestock producers can choose to use a participating private veterinarian or a department veterinary officer.
“There is also a subsidy for laboratory fees for tests conducted by the department’s Animal Health Laboratories to rule out relevant exotic diseases and help establish a diagnosis,” Dr Hepworth said.
Early detection improves eradication and control
Department Early Detection of Emergency Animal Diseases project manager Katie Webb said the earlier a disease was detected, the better chance of eradicating or controlling it.
“Early detection helps to minimise the economic and social impacts of a disease on the livestock industry and wider community.
“Surveillance testing is also an essential part of proving that WA does not have certain diseases and this ensures our ongoing access to key overseas markets,” Dr Webb said.
Investigations support disease-free status
Dr Hepworth said thorough disease investigations support WA’s livestock industries by helping to ensure the early detection of an emergency animal disease and providing evidence of Australia’s freedom from trade-sensitive diseases.
“Disease investigations also enable producers to determine the cause of stock disease on-farm and put control measures in place to minimise losses.
“The pilot program is expected to help producers build a stronger relationship with their local veterinarian and promote the value of veterinary investigations,” he said.
The pilot program is part of the $20 million Boosting Biosecurity Defences program made possible by Royalties for Regions. More information is available on the department website agric.wa.gov.au by searching for ‘disease investigation pilot’ or by contacting a local department veterinary officer.
Source: WA Department of Food and Agriculture.