Cattle producers are being urged to let the State Government know that lay pregnancy testing is a key herd management tool that can help producers to lift fertility rates and in turn the productivity and profitability of their enterprises AgForce said today.
AgForce Cattle President Bim Struss said AgForce has been calling on the State Government to allow lay pregnancy testing in Queensland and it is urging Queensland cattle producers to give their feedback on the changes to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936 which opened for consultation today.
"Queensland cattle producers support is crucial at this stage in the process so that the State Government knows the industry supports lay pregnancy testing, both manual and ultrasound technique," Mr Struss said.
"I urge Queensland's cattle producers to get involved with this process so that we do not continue to be at a competitive disadvantage to our counterparts in the Northern Territory and Western Australia where pregnancy testing by non-veterinarians is allowed and has been for years.
"Let me be very clear - this is not about taking away business from vets or reducing standards.
"It is about ensuring there is increased access to reliable and cost-effective pregnancy testing across Queensland."
Mr Struss said high fertility rates are crucial to the success of all beef breeding enterprises, however, it can often be difficult and expensive for producers to have their cattle professionally tested in the required timeframes, particularly in remote areas.
"We have been and will continue to work with the Australian Vet Association, the Cattle Vet Association and the RSPCA to ensure the program meets expectations and the highest standards of animal welfare are achieved.
"Just as we have done with the more invasive dropped ovary spaying surgical procedure which can be legally carried out in Queensland by a lay person.
"We want to have this new professional accreditation scheme in place before the herd returns to normal levels by 2020/2021 so producers can take full advantage and our industry can continue to grow strongly."
Mr Struss said that's why AgForce has recommended the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936 be amended to enable non-vets to practice pregnancy testing, and to allow more testing to be done via ultrasound technology.
"In conjunction with the AVA, we are looking to develop a high level, sustainable system to accredit lay persons based on the principles established in the PREgCHECK program.
Producers can provide comment by completing a ten-minute survey anonymously at https://bit.ly/2yN4bqq, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing to GPO Box 46, Brisbane, 4001 before 14 December 2018.