Biosecurity Queensland principal veterinary officer Janine Barrett said the catchcry "Bucks for brains" promotes the National Transmissible Spongiform (TSE) Freedom Assurance Program, which offers cattle producers cash for brain samples from stock showing symptoms similar to those seen in Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’).
“The TSE program includes surveillance that demonstrates Australia’s ongoing freedom from BSE and provides for early detection if it occurs,” Dr Barrett said.
“Producers and vets receive payments for submitting brain samples from eligible cattle to rule out BSE.
“This helps us comply with World Organisation for Animal Health requirements and assures our trading partners that they can have the highest level of confidence in Queensland produce.
“It is just one of a number of safeguards we use to protect our livestock industry.”
Dr Barrett said cattle producers would receive $300 for each eligible animal. In addition, laboratory tests for other diseases can be provided at no cost to the producer.
“To be eligible, the animal must be aged between 30 months or older and less than nine years, and verified by a vet or government animal health officer to be displaying BSE-type symptoms that haven’t improved with treatment,” Dr Barrett said.
“These symptoms could include difficulty walking, abnormal posture, muscle tremors or temperament changes.
“Cattle producers who suspect their animals may be showing BSE-like symptoms should get in touch with Biosecurity Queensland or their local vet to determine whether they are eligible.”
The TSE program is managed by Animal Health Australia and funded by Federal, State and Territory Governments, and industry to protect market access and animal and human health. It is co-ordinated in Queensland by Biosecurity Queensland.
For more information call 13 25 53 or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au