PREG-TEST­ING:

AgForce is call­ing for out­dated preg­nancy test­ing laws to be changed

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - Bim Struss AgForce cat­tle pres­i­dent

HIGH fer­til­ity rates are cru­cial to the suc­cess of all beef breed­ing busi­nesses, and preg­nancy test­ing is a key herd man­age­ment tool that helps pro­duc­ers boost their pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity.

How­ever, out­dated reg­u­la­tions in Queens­land and a lack of vets in re­mote ar­eas are in­creas­ing costs and re­duc­ing mar­gins for live ex­porters and breed­ing op­er­a­tions re­liant on preg­nancy test­ing ser­vices.

Queens­land pro­duc­ers are at a com­pet­i­tive dis­ad­van­tage to ex­port pro­duc­ers in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Western Aus­tralia, as well as do­mes­tic pro­duc­ers in New South Wales, where preg­nancy test­ing by non-vet­eri­nar­i­ans is al­lowed and has been for years.

It is against this back­drop that AgForce has been call­ing for change, and we are pleased the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has now opened a con­sul­ta­tion process on cat­tle preg­nancy test­ing and ovar­ian scan­ning.

I urge Queens­land cat­tle pro­duc­ers to get in­volved with this process so the State Gov­ern­ment knows the in­dus­try sup­ports lay preg­nancy test­ing – both man­ual and ultrasound tech­nique.

Let me be very clear – this is not about tak­ing away busi­ness from vets or re­duc­ing stan­dards.

It is all about en­sur­ing there is in­creased ac­cess to re­li­able and cost-ef­fec­tive preg­nancy test­ing across Queens­land.

We have been and will con­tinue to work with the Aus­tralian Vet As­so­ci­a­tion, the Cat­tle Vet As­so­ci­a­tion and the RSPCA to en­sure the high­est stan­dards of an­i­mal wel­fare are achieved.

We have al­ready done this with the more in­va­sive dropped ovary spay­ing sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure, which can be legally car­ried out in Queens­land by a layper­son.

In con­junc­tion with the AVA, we are now look­ing to de­velop a high level, sus­tain­able sys­tem to ac­credit layper­sons based on the prin­ci­ples es­tab­lished in the PREgCHECK pro­gram.

The preg­nancy test­ing scheme, TestRight, seeks to pro­mote ex­cel­lence in preg­nancy test­ing di­ag­no­sis for man­ual pal­pa­tion and ultrasound tech­niques.

TestRight ac­cred­i­ta­tion was de­vel­oped by in­dus­try to meet in­dus­try stan­dard for the com­mer­cial preg­nancy test­ing prac­ti­tioner.

The vet scheme PregCheck is only open to vets and is over­seen by the Vet­eri­nary Sur­geons Board. TestRight of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to all prac­ti­tion­ers who wish to preg­nancy test cat­tle as a fee for ser­vice. The scheme is also open to pro­duc­ers for herd man­age­ment and vets for data man­age­ment.

The TestRight scheme pro­vides trans­par­ent ac­count­abil­ity through a trace-for­ward trace-back data cap­ture sys­tem, which en­ables ac­cred­ited testers to record all trans­ac­tions, pro­vid­ing over­sight of tech­ni­cians’ ser­vices and an av­enue for cus­tomer feed­back.

Pur­chasers us­ing the ser­vice will have the in­for­ma­tion they need to se­cure com­pe­tency and en­sure an­i­mal wel­fare stan­dards are met.

AgForce is keen to work with the AVA to have a new pro­fes­sional preg­nancy test­ing ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme in place be­fore the herd re­turns to nor­mal lev­els so pro­duc­ers can take full ad­van­tage and our in­dus­try can con­tinue to grow strongly.

Be­fore this can hap­pen though, we need to en­sure the State Gov­ern­ment knows how im­por­tant this change is to our in­dus­try.

Pro­duc­ers can pro­vide com­ment by com­plet­ing a sur­vey anony­mously at https://bit.ly/2yN4bqq, or by mailing to GPO Box 46, Bris­bane, 4001, be­fore De­cem­ber 14, 2018.

❝test­ing Preg­nancy

is a key herd man­age­ment tool...

— Bim Struss

PHOTO: AMANDA BAUER

OUT­DATED REG­U­LA­TIONS: AgForce is call­ing for a change of preg­nancy test­ing laws for cat­tle in Queens­land.

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