Next step urged on female exports ID

The West Australian
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Australia's peak veterinary body has called for further quality assurance in the identification of female cattle presented for live export.

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) congratulated the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) on its directive to ensure female export cattle were individually identified, but urged the Department to the "take the next step".

AVA president Dr Ben Gardiner said there had been several reported instances where female cattle have been presented for export that had not complied with the requirements of the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL).

"This includes pregnancies being incorrectly reported which has resulted in pregnant cattle being rejected by the importing country, and cows calving during the voyage, which are both very real animal welfare concerns," he said.

Exporters are now required to present testing or speying documentation that clearly lists the identity and pregnancy status of cattle. Without this, female cattle will be ineligible for export.

"We still have some concerns over the quality assurance of the pregnancy diagnosis of cattle for export," Dr Gardiner said.

The AVA's National Cattle Pregnancy Diagnosis Scheme (NCPDS) is the only nationally-recognised and audited system for the identification and certification of cattle pregnancy status.

"Only accredited and experienced vets can participate in the scheme, providing peace of mind that cows have been tested by an expert," he said. "We urge DAFF to take the next step in quality assurance in live exports and mandate that only NCPDS accredited vets perform the pregnancy diagnoses required for female cattle that are exported."

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