Health and welfare of livestock a key priority for vets in Queensland state election

Media release date: 
Tuesday, 21 November 2017

With the Queensland state election fast-approaching, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Queensland Division has released its election policy platform, emphasising the important role veterinarians play on farms in ensuring the health and welfare of livestock.

AVA President, Dr Paula Parker, said that it’s critical to have veterinarians on farms, especially in rural and remote parts of Queensland, to enhance biosecurity and disease surveillance and keep Queensland’s animal industries, healthy, productive and profitable.

“We’ve based our recommendations on what’s in the best interests of Queensland’s remote and rural farming communities as well as animal welfare in the state.

“There is currently pressure in Queensland to deregulate cattle pregnancy diagnosis so that non-veterinarians can perform this act of veterinary science as a business.

“This is a key concern for the AVA because while veterinarians are required on farms to diagnose pregnancy in cattle, they are also there to conduct routine surveillance of livestock and provide critical biosecurity and disease prevention advice to farmers.

“Veterinarians identify, diagnose, treat and prevent disease in animals every day. We’re worried that this decision could lead to fewer veterinarians on farms in Queensland, leaving them vulnerable to a range of biosecurity and animal disease threats.

“Disease outbreaks can have devastating health and welfare consequences for livestock, for example, a foot and mouth disease (FMD) incursion would be disastrous for the state. If veterinarians are not routinely onsite to identify and prevent diseases such as FMD in Queensland, outbreaks can be widespread before they are detected, with irreversible consequences for farm productivity and profitability,” Dr Parker said.

Dr Parker says that the sustainability of rural veterinary practices in Queensland is something that needs to be urgently addressed.

“We want to ensure the state’s animal industries continue to be disease free, productive and profitable, with veterinarians available and onsite to oversee animal health and welfare.

“It’s critical that the incoming government forms partnerships with private veterinarians to cover the gap of reduced government services in disease surveillance,” Dr Parker said.

Some of the AVA’s key recommendations outlined in its policy platform include:

  • That the government maintains pregnancy diagnosis as a restricted act that may only be performed by veterinarians.
  • That the government continue with the review of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, and work toward establishing the Veterinary Surgeons Board as an independent statutory body reporting directly to the Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries.
  • That formal partnerships between government agencies and private veterinarians be pursued to enhance surveillance and significant disease investigations within the state. 

A copy of the policy platform can be viewed here.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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