Producer fined for footrot quarantine breach
A WA sheep producer has been prosecuted for failing to comply with a quarantine notice under the State’s Biosecurity and Agricultural Management Act following the detection of virulent footrot in his sheep flock.
The Denmark Shire producer pleaded guilty to five charges of failing to take adequate precautions to prevent his sheep leaving the quarantined property and potentially spreading footrot to neighbouring properties. The producer was fined $3000 and ordered to pay court costs of $359.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development carries out a footrot control program for the WA sheep industry to limit the financial and welfare impacts of virulent footrot.
Department veterinarian Jenny Cotter said virulent footrot could spread when infected sheep come into contact with uninfected sheep.
Dr Cotter said footrot bacteria was able to transfer from an infected sheep’s foot to soil and faeces and, under the right conditions, onto the feet of uninfected sheep in the same paddocks.
“Sheep flocks with virulent footrot are placed under quarantine to restrict the movement of sheep from these properties until the infection has been eradicated,” Dr Cotter said.
“The quarantine notice also directs that fence and gate security must be maintained to ensure sheep remain within the quarantined property.”
Department senior compliance inspector Mike Donaghy said in this case, sheep had strayed to neighbouring properties on several occasions between 2016 and 2017, and the producer had not taken sufficient action to prevent this.
“The WA sheep industry invests significant funding to control the spread of virulent footrot across the State, and producers are required to take the necessary steps to prevent infected sheep straying off their property,” Mr Donaghy said
Virulent footrot is a bacterial infection of the inter-digital skin on sheep’s feet that causes lameness and productivity losses.