Bovine Johne's Disease stalemate drags on
THE Kenilworth dairy farmer whose property has been in lockdown for almost a year because of suspected Bovine Johne's Disease has dismissed a State Government announcement that some farmers in a similar predicament can claim up to $20,000 in assistance.
Shane Paulger, who is also the Katter party candidate for Gympie, said this week even $100,000 would not cover the losses and damage to his stud farm's reputation since his herd was quarantined last November.
Mr Paulger bought two elite jersey heifers in 2009 - Passion and Eileen - for a combined $25,000, from leading Australian jersey stud Brunchilli, which later turned out to be infected with BJD.
The heifers won several Supreme Heifer awards at the Gympie and Royal Brisbane Shows before Passion had to be put down because of calving complications, and Eileen, and the rest of the Paulger herd, was quarantined.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh said this week producers whose properties were in quarantine for two to six months could now qualify for financial assistance.
"The new Short-term Assistance Program bolsters the existing payments that have been in place since 2013," Mr McVeigh said.
"To date, more than $1.44 million in BJD Assistance Scheme payments have been made to 73 owners of cattle affected by movement restrictions.
"A further $1.02 million has been paid to 145 cattle owners under the BJD Supplementary Payments Program, bringing total assistance payments to nearly $2.5 million."
Mr Paulger said he had never asked for compensation, but wanted an overhaul of the entire Queensland policy on BJD, which he says is deeply flawed.
"They wanted us to kill Eileen," he said.
"They did 300 tests (on our cattle) and they all came back clear, including Eileen. But they still wanted us to kill her.
"We have been at a stalemate ever since."
This year was the first in 55 years that Mr Paulger's cattle were not among those on show at the Ekka.
"The policy needs to be that we all sit down and come up with a true national program," Mr Paulger said.
BJD is a notifiable disease under legislation and all suspect cases should be reported.
If BJD is suspected on your property, do not move or cull suspect cattle. Isolate the animals and contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or a private veterinarian.