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Feeding your livestock is pretty simple, right? Well, in actuality, by simply feeding your ruminants products that come from a vertebrate animal such as meat, fish meal, poultry meal, and eggs, you could actually risk Australia’s international markets and reputation.
The Australian Ruminant Feed Ban has been helping prevent the establishment of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Australia for over 25 years. BSE, otherwise known as mad cow disease, is an irreversible neurological disorder of cattle resulting from ingestion of an abnormal protein called a prion.
The first diagnosis of BSE in cows occurred in the UK in the 1980s, followed by research strongly suggesting a link between the disease and feeding meat and bone meal to cattle. Similarly, in sheep there is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) you may know as scrapie. These two diseases are rare, fatal and have no treatments or vaccines.
The impact of risking the introduction of BSE onto your farm will not only affect the health and profitability of your livestock but also Australia’s reputation. Its ripple effect will be nationwide, impacting our exporters, other livestock producers, processors and the market assurance of Australia.
Losing our TSE free status in Australia would result in years of export bans and financial hardship across the industry. It would be a long and difficult process to not only re-establish Australia as a TSE free country but to rebuild the international reputation and trust of Australian sheep and cattle products.
Fortunately for us, Australia has a well-established national approach including effective feed ban control measures and audits that ensure the greatest assurance of compliance with national and international requirements.
As part of this, states and territories have implemented legislation for ‘restricted animal material’ (RAM), a term to describe things that cannot be fed to ruminant livestock species (e.g. cattle, sheep, goats or deer). RAM is defined as any material taken from a vertebrate animal other than tallow, gelatin, milk products or oils. It includes rendered products, such as blood meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, fish meal, poultry meal, eggs, feather meal, and compounded feeds made from these products.
Additionally, there are requirements around the safe use of fats and oils in ruminant feed. Manufacturers and producers adding oils into their ruminant feeds should only use recycled oils from Australian Rendering Association (ARA)-Accredited processors.
Learn about the safe use of fats and oils in ruminant feed here.
If you are a cattle, sheep, goat or deer producer, it’s vital you know if your livestock feed is legal or not!
Here are four simple steps on how you can help keep Australia BSE free.
Find more information on the AHA website here: https://animalhealthaustralia.com.au/australian-ruminant-feed-ban/