Have your say on access for cattle pregnancy testing
QUEENSLAND cattle producers will have a chance to have their say on the need for increased access to reliable and affordable pregnancy testing services before a State Government consultation process closes next week.
AgForce Cattle President Will Wilson said outdated regulations and a lack of vets in remote areas were increasing costs.
"High fertility rates are crucial to the success of all breeding businesses, and pregnancy testing is a key herd management tool that helps producers boost their productivity and profitability,” he said.
This was also reducing margins for live exporters and cattle breeding operations reliant on pregnancy testing services.
"For too long Queensland cattle producers have been at a competitive disadvantage to producers in other parts of Australia where lay pregnancy testers are legally operating and have done for years,” Mr Wilson said.
"That's why it's so vital we have our say and make the most of the opportunity the Queensland Government has provided.”
However, Monto Veterinary Surgery veterinarian Courtney Scott said lay pregnancy testing services would not provide the same level of care.
"It's not just the skill of the pregnancy testing, but also the extra advice we can offer on herd health and improving our herd and their productivity, that makes us believe that pregnancy testing should stay as an act of veterinary science,” Dr Scott said.
Currently, pregnancy testing in cattle is mostly an act of vet science.
"Pregnancy testing is something that is quite a skill and takes a bit of time to learn,” she said.
Technology advances as improved over the years, giving cattle producers the benefit of early diagnosis and an ability to spot other abnormalities with ultrasound diagnosis.
"A lot of lay preg testers or property owners are using ultrasounds and doing courses on their own to be accredited,” Dr Scott said.
"But it just means they can't offer the same standard of care that we can when we go out and do herd pregnancy testing and herd health visits.”
The lack of vets practising in rural areas is an Australia-wide problem, and Dr Scott said the industry needs to make it more appealing to encourage vets to make the move to rural communities.
"It's a fantastic industry and a great part of the world,” she said.
Mr Wilson said vets are already operating in a market alongside an underground of laypersons providing testing, and there was no evidence of reduced business.
"Our aim is to provide a training and accreditation program which will elevate the existing often skilled underground to the professional standing they deserve,” he said.
"That's why we support option three in the survey -to amend the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1936 and require an industry owned training and accreditation program.”
Cattle producers can provide comment by completing a survey anonymously at http://bit.ly/cattlepregnancytesting or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before December 14.