Vetcommunique Volume 8 Issue 5

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Animal Health Committee (AHC), October 2008

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​Vetcommunique Vol 8. No 5. October 2008

Animal Health Committee Meeting 14, September 2008

Welcome to the Animal Health Committee (AHC) newsletter for animal industry bodies. The aim of Vetcommuniqué is to provide a communication link between AHC and client industry bodies.

AHC last met on 22-24 September 2008 in Darwin. AHC14 also held a teleconference on 25 July 2008.

AHC membership comprises the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) of the Commonwealth, States, Territories and New Zealand, and representatives from Biosecurity Australia and CSIRO. Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and Animal Health Australia (AHA) attend AHC as observers. AHC also meets with industry representatives on specific items from time to time.

Dr Andy Carroll is the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer and AHC Chair for 2008.

Key Outcomes from AHC14

Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Preparedness Training Working Group Report

AHC12 formed a working group to review the current EAD training activities across Australia, taking into account the experiences gained in recent EAD outbreaks including Equine Influenza. Its report was presented to AHC14. The main recommendation was to develop a National EAD Response and Preparedness Capability Enhancement Program. The program would subsume existing Commonwealth/State-Territory/partnership programs such as the Rapid Response Team, Australian Veterinary Reserve, Practitioner Training and partnership programs such as Industry Liaison Officer training. The program would acknowledge and build on these jurisdictional and industry training programs to enhance national capability recognizing the intrinsic continuum in a national approach to EAD training.

The programs mission is to enhance EAD response capability and capacity via three strategies:

  1. Provide enhanced training and professional development to assist government and industry parties to meet their Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement obligations in relation to trained and accredited personnel.
  2. Provide new training and development opportunities to government, industry and the private sector to enhance EAD awareness and response preparedness nationally.
  3. Develop enhanced induction/just-in-time training programs.

AHC agreed with the Working Groups report and will work along side Animal Health Australia in developing the framework and work-plan of the Program for 2009/12.

National Horse Registration

AHC agreed to the introduction of a mandatory nationally consistent horse property registration linked and triggered to/by Property Identification Codes.

AHC also agreed to the introduction of voluntary nationally consistent horse event registration. This would not limit states/territories from making horse event registration compulsory/mandatory. All jurisdictions indicated that horse event registration would be voluntary, except NSW and Qld where it is currently compulsory. NSW and Qld anticipate reviewing this policy in the near future. AHC subsequently agreed to for the Working Group on National Horse Registration to develop criteria for horse event registration for report to AHC15.

AHC re-emphasised that registration schemes should not be linked to the collection of levies.

Aquatic animal health

By June 2009, public policy and government decision making on aquatic animal health, previously undertaken by the Aquatic Animal
Health Committee (AAHC), will be transferred to the Animal Health Committee.

Enzootic Bovine Leucosis (EBL)

Following agreement between government and industry to undertake the eradication of EBL from the Australian dairy herd, the AHC EBL National Dairy Strategy Working Party has devolved into the EBL Working Group (WG) and the EBL National Dairy Program Advisory Group (NDPAG). The WG provides technical and scientific advice on operational strategy to the NDPAG who are developing and will implement  the industry driven National Program. Dr Hugh Millar (Victoria DPI) is Chair of the WG, and Wes Judd (Qld Dairyfarmers Org.) is Chair of the NDPAG.

Bovine Johne’s Disease (BJD)

The Chair of the National BJD Steering Committee is to convene in March 2009 a workshop to consider the future management and control of Bovine Johne’s disease in Australia. At the May 2008 BJD Technical Advisory Group meeting to review and update the National Standard Definition and Rules for Cattle (SDRs), it was identified that a set of SDRs common to both the dairy and beef sectors was
becoming increasingly difficult to manage and retain relevance as each industry sector developed national programs for the control and management of Johne’s disease based on industry risk assessments.

It was suggested that a sectoral approach to the SDRs might assist the dairy and beef industries to better manage the particular risks that BJD presented to the sector due to the different risk profiles and disease prevalence between each sector and within differing geographic regions. It was also noted that the interaction between the dairy and beef sector must be managed.

To this end, the objectives of the workshop will be to identify the differing needs of the dairy and beef industries for the management and control of BJD, the roles of the various stakeholders, and the necessary tools and management structures.

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)

AHC endorsed the holding of an international FMD conference in Australia in 2010. It is seen as important in terms of providing Australia with the most up-todate scientific information on FMD which is critical for basing decisions on during any FMD outbreak. It is also seen as important in facilitating the strengthening of collaborative relationships with overseas researchers and disease control authorities.

National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)

for Sheep and Goats AHC agreed to establish a Sheep and Goat NLIS Working Group, Chaired by DAFF, to analyse risks and propose mitigating measures associated with the introduction of mob based database recording and pink transaction tags for sheep and goats. Mandatory mob based movements recording for all sheep and goat saleyard transactions is proposed to be introduced in July 2009, subject to approvals.

Pink transaction tags are envisaged to be used for non-vendor bred sheep and goat transactions/movements. The NLIS Management
Committee is expected to make its recommendations to the Standing Committee by January 2009 on their decision regarding implementing the pink tags.

Future Animal Health Committee Meetings

  • AHC15 teleconference 1 will take place on 27 November 2008.
  • AHC will have its Strategic Planning meeting on 24 February 2009.
  • AHC15 face-to-face is scheduled for 5-7 May

Key Contacts

  • Dr Brian Radunz, Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), NT, ph 08 8999 2130
  • Dr Hugh Millar, Chief Veterinary Officer, VIC, ph 03 9217 4247
  • Dr Andy Carroll, (AHC Chair 2008) Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, DAFF, ph 02 6272 4644
  • Dr Ron Glanville, Chief Veterinary Officer, QLD, ph 07 3239 3525
  • Dr Bruce Christie, Chief Veterinary Officer, NSW, ph 02 6391 3717
  • Dr Peter Buckman, Chief Veterinary Officer, WA ph 08 9368 3342
  • Dr Rob Rahaley, Chief Veterinary Officer, SA, ph 08 8207 7970
  • Dr Rod Andrewartha, Chief Veterinary Officer, TAS, ph 03 6233 6836
  • Dr Robyn Martin, General Manager, Biosecurity Australia, ph 02 6272 5444
  • Dr Ian Denney, Manager - Veterinary Services, Animal Health Australia, ph 02 6203 3921
  • Dr Will Andrew, Chief Veterinary Officer, ACT, ph 02 6207 2357
  • Dr Martyn Jeggo, Director AAHL, CSIRO, ph 03 5227 5511
  • Dr Adrian Coghill, Secretary Animal Health Committee, DAFF, ph 02 6272 3096
  • Dr Narelle Clegg, Manager AQIS Exports and Animal Programs Division, DAFF, ph 02 6272 4523
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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