News & Media

Testing underway on Kimberley cattle properties

Released on

Released on:
Friday, 8. February 2013 - 13:15

The Department of Agriculture and Food is working with several Kimberley cattle properties to muster and test bulls as part of a program to ensure Western Australia remains free from bovine Johne’s disease (BJD).

The department has traced 476 bulls which have come into WA since 2000 from a Queensland property where BJD has been detected. The traced bulls went to six properties in the Kimberley region.

Department chief veterinary officer Peter Morcombe said WA remained a BJD Free Zone and work was underway to ensure the State continued to meet nationally agreed standards.

“Individual management plans are being developed for each property and cattle have been mustered on three properties,” Dr Morcombe said.

“Movement restrictions have been applied to the properties while sampling and testing is underway, and the department is carrying out this work as quickly as possible.”

Department veterinarians and stock inspectors have been deployed to the properties to collect samples for laboratory testing.

This herd testing involves faecal sampling from groups of cows likely to have been in contact with the traced bulls. The traced bulls are being located and culled for testing.

“We are using a new, highly accurate and nationally approved DNA test at our Animal Health Laboratories which has reduced the expected timeframe for results from months to between two and four weeks,” Dr Morcombe said.

He said given tracings dated back to 2000, some of the imported bulls would have already been slaughtered or died of natural causes.

Dr Morcombe said the pastoralists involved had been working closely and cooperatively with department officers.

The department has also been liaising regularly with key industry groups and with authorities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison                          +61 8 9368 3937