Technical Committee Appointed Against Ticks

AUSTRALIA - Policies to battle cattle ticks in New South Wales, Australia, received some additional technical back-up this week, with the appointment of a scientific advisory committee.
calendar icon 29 April 2008
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“This new scientific committee will meet in July, after the end of each cattle tick season, and report directly to the NSW chief veterinary officer Bruce Christie,” said the minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald.

“The Scientific Advisory Committee on Cattle Ticks will review the outcome of cattle tick control strategies in NSW in the previous season from a purely scientific perspective.

“The members of the new committee will be scientists from NSW and Queensland with expertise in cattle ticks and tick fever.

“These experienced people will bring added scientific expertise to the cattle tick program and support the program’s role of managing the risks associated with cattle ticks and tick fever.

“They will be an additional group to the existing Cattle Tick Ministerial Advisory Committee which is chaired by Mr Nick Keatinge and provides advice directly to me.”

Mr Macdonald said the appointment of the new committee followed on from a comprehensive tick fever inquiry in 2005 by former Nationals Minister and Member for Orange Garry West.

“Mr West consulted widely with stockowners, scientists and regulators and made a number of recommendations, most of which have been adopted,” he said.

“This new committee is another mechanism to ensure that all decisions relating to cattle tick control are based on good science and risk management, taking into account economic, social and environmental outcomes.”

Mr Macdonald said 15 head of cattle had died from tick fever in March this year on two NSW properties – one at Burringbar and the other at Alstonville.

“NSW Department of Primary Industries veterinarians and regulatory officers have completed tracing all livestock movements from the two properties and no new tick fever cases have been found,” said Mr Macdonald.

He said the incidence of tick fever in NSW was very low. “A total of 78 head of cattle have died from tick fever on nine NSW properties in the last 11 years,” he said.

“While this is tragic for the stockowners involved, it does not warrant further restrictions on livestock industries across a wide geographical area.

“Calls from some north coast producers for tighter controls on the movement of livestock must be weighed against calls from other sections of the livestock industries who want fewer restrictions.”

Mr Macdonald said it is important for stockowners to know that tick fever is caused by a parasite of red blood cells – and the only thing that can spread tick fever is cattle ticks.

“That is why the NSW Government, in partnership with stockowners, has historically targeted cattle ticks, eradicating them where they occur in NSW,” he said.

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