Animal Health Committee 22 Face to Face, 17-18 October 2012
Welcome to the Animal Health Committee (AHC) newsletter for animal industry bodies. The aim of the Vetcommunique is to provide a communication link between AHC and industry bodies.
AHC meetings are attended by the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) of the Commonwealth, States and Territories, the New Zealand CVO and representatives from Animal Health Australia (AHA), Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), Animal Division (DAFF) and Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC). National Industry association representatives and industry representatives from the host jurisdiction also attend an AHC – industry forum.AHC met on 17-18 October 2012 in Fremantle, WA. Dr Ian Roth is the New South Wales Chief Veterinary Officer and AHC Chair for 2012. Further information on the structure of the AHC.
Key Items for discussion
Industry involvement at AHC22 face-to-face meeting
Representatives from the Animal Health Australia Industry Forum attended a joint session with AHC on Wednesday 17 October 2012. Issues discussed at this session included:
Implementation of the National General Surveillance Program (NGSP)
AHC gave industry members an update on the work towards an NGSP so far, in particular the number of days to detection of the first case of FMD and what can be done to reduce this time.
Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD)
In June 2012, Wool Producers Australia (WPA) and Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SMC) outlined progress towards a revised OJD Management Plan 2012-2017. AHC advised SMC of their agreement in principle to the revised plan and that approval of regional biosecurity plans should be conducted by an independent party with relevant expertise to ensure compliance with the Guidelines and facilitate national recognition of these plans.
Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD)
Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) requested AHC to seek a change to the reporting of BJD to the National Animal Health Information System (NAHIS) Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly (AHSQ). Currently, beef and dairy BJD statistics are consolidated and AHC agreed to address issues surrounding these reports to NAHIS.
Unit of Competency for Lay Spayers
CCA is preparing for the change in animal welfare standards in regards to spaying of cattle in northern Australia. The industry continues to strive for non-surgical spaying but CCA aims to develop a formal registration and accreditation process for lay spayers once Standard Definitions, Rules and Guidelines (SDR&Gs) are developed for the new Animal Welfare Committee. CCA advised they will form a working group to develop this formal registration and accreditation process and would appreciate assistance from AHC.
On-Farm biosecurity manual
CCA, in conjunction with Animal Health Australia (AHA), has developed a “National farm biosecurity reference manual for grazing livestock production” for sheep, beef, alpaca and goats. This manual is aimed at policy advisors and CCA is planning to develop a second shorter manual, aimed at livestock producers.
Livestock Biosecurity Network (LBN)
Industry informed AHC members that given the increasing importance of livestock biosecurity, SMC, CCA and WPA have combined resources to fund livestock biosecurity officers around the country, 1 officer per state, to form the LBN. The LBN is now a registered company. There will be a National Manager based in Canberra and a small board. Applications for the National Manager and Chair have now closed and livestock biosecurity officers will be appointed early in 2013.
National database and standardisation of microchipping for horses
AHIC advised AHC that the horse industry is looking to move towards standardisation of microchipping for the national horse population. The horse industry is also keen, with support from government, to move towards a national database to stocktake the national horse population, provide locations of horses and for biosecurity reasons. AHC members advised there are current proposals within DAFF to form a working group to address issues around standardisation of identification of horses, including microchipping and an associated national database.
Universal Equine Life Number (UELN)
AHIC advised AHC members that the Harness Racing industry is currently looking for more formal identification of horses in its industry. At this stage they are assessing the UELN model used in Europe and the United States to identify individual animals, but they are also considering microchipping.
Eminent Scientists Group (ESG)
Industry members questioned the role of the ESG under the new biosecurity legislation. AHC advised that under the new legislation there will be no mandated process for the ESG to review Import Risk Analyses (IRAs). Review of IRAs will be performed by the Inspector General of Biosecurity.
Standards for ‘free range’ poultry and pork
Industry discussed with AHC the differing standards for free range between RSPCA, industry and commercial companies and the difficulties this poses for producers.
Pigeon Paramyxovirus (PPMV) and biosecurity in WA
The WA poultry industry raised concerns about the risk of PPMV entering WA and the lack of mandatory vaccination and biosecurity measures to reduce this risk and its effects on the WA industry. AHC advised that at this stage, PPMV does not appear to affect poultry and vaccination with Newcastle Disease (ND) Virus, as is mandatory for all layer and long-lived birds in WA, will mitigate risk. In addition to this there has been a very high uptake of vaccination for PPMV of competition pigeons and this is expected to continue.
Other issues discussed by AHC included
An update on the National Action Plan for Foot and Mouth Disease
Update on progress on the FMD NAP- FMD Taskforce activities (FMD vaccination policy, trade and social impacts research, stakeholder forum, real-time training, national laboratory arrangements), determining response capacity
An update on Hendra virus (HeV) in Queensland
AHC advised industry there are currently no quarantined properties. This year there have been cases in coastal areas between Rockhampton and Port Douglas and no human cases. Research is ongoing into the highest risk species and highest risk for transmission. AHC provided an update on the HeV vaccine release and the training module for accreditation of veterinarians, but emphasised the importance of ongoing awareness of risk factors and application of strict biosecurity measures and hygiene.
AQUAPLAN 2005-2010 Review
AHC endorsed the review of AQUAPLAN 2005-2010, which seeks PISC agreement to publish the review and for development of a successor strategy.
Aquatic Emergency Animal Disease Response arrangements
AHC endorsed a draft work plan for the development of formal industry-government emergency aquatic animal disease response arrangements.