Frequently asked questions
Making a submission
- continues to be managed through state regulation, and if so, under what conditions, or
- is deregulated and individual stakeholders manage their own biosecurity to prevent and manage any JD outbreaks on individual properties, as is done in other states/territories.
Who can make a submission?
All Western Australians can make a written submission on the future management of Johne’s disease (C-strain) in cattle in Western Australia.
Submissions are particularly encouraged from WA cattle producers, WA industry organisations and WA cattle industry and supply chain representatives (such as exporters, livestock agents, processors, transporters, veterinarians and government agencies).
Where can I make a submission?
To make a submission, complete the online submission form or fill out the Word form on this page and email to IFS@dpird.wa.gov.au. Please read the Management of Johne’s disease (C-strain) in cattle in Western Australia consultation paper before submitting your feedback. If you have any difficulties with your submission or further questions, please contact us by email at IFS@dpird.wa.gov.au or use the Q&A function on this page.
Submissions can be made online, or emailed to the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme IFS@dpird.wa.gov.au.
What should my submission include?
Your submission can include any comments relevant to managing Johne’s disease (C-strain) in cattle in Western Australia. The online submission form and Word form provide a structure for your comments.
Submissions may be published online after the consultation period has ended. Submitters who do not wish for their submission to be published should note this on the submission form.
Can I make a confidential submission?
You can request that your name is not provided to the industry representatives assessing the submissions. However, you will need to indicate which sector of the industry you are from and whether you are making a submission as an individual or representing an organisation.
Submissions may be published online after the consultation period has ended, but you can request your submission not be published. The online and Word submission forms will ask you to nominate whether you wish to have your submission published. However, submissions will not be published where it has been requested that the submitting individual/organisation be held in confidence.
Why is the management of Johne’s disease (C-strain) in cattle in Western Australia being reconsidered?
Following the national decision in 2016 to deregulate Johne’s disease (JD) in cattle, the Western Australian cattle industry requested that JD (C-strain) in cattle continue to be regulated to minimise the risk of introducing JD (C-strain) in cattle imported from other states or territories while targeted surveillance was undertaken.
The targeted surveillance results have now been combined with other JD (C-strain) surveillance data to establish a 98% level of confidence that JD (C-strain) was not present in the Western Australian cattle population at a prevalence of 0.2% of herds and 2% of cattle within infected herds.
The WA cattle industry now needs to determine whether JD (C-strain) in cattle:
What are the next steps?
How will the industry decide how Johne’s disease (C-strain) is going to be managed into the future?
The Cattle Industry Management Committee will convene a forum involving representatives of the Western Australian cattle industry. The purpose of the forum is to consider all submissions received through this consultative process and identify the option that the industry wants put in place to manage Johne’s disease (cattle-strain) in cattle. The goal is to find an option that will provide the best outcome for the Western Australian cattle industry as a whole.
How can I find out what the final decision is?
The Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Management Committee will provide information on the final decision through a variety of communications, including on this consultation webpage and the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Reports webpage.
Johne's disease information
- chronic diarrhoea that does not respond to treatment
- gradual weight loss despite normal or increased appetite with ample feed.
How can I get more information about Johne’s disease and what the different options will mean for me?
If you require more information after reading the consultation paper and frequently asked questions, consider signing up to one of the webinars being held during the consultation period. These will be interactive sessions where you can ask questions and discuss the different options with the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Management Committee and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. See the webinar tab on the consultation webpage for webinar dates and times.
Alternatively, contact us by email at IFS@dpird.wa.gov.au or submit your questions via the Q&A function on this page.
What is Johne’s disease?
Johne’s disease is an incurable infectious disease of ruminants including cattle, sheep, goats, alpaca and deer. It causes chronic diarrhoea and wasting, which eventually leads to death. Johne’s disease is difficult to detect in the early stages of the disease and once introduced into a herd, it is difficult to eradicate.
There are three strains of Johne’s disease that can infect cattle: sheep (S-strain), cattle (C-strain) and bison strain. C-strain is not known to be present in WA cattle. Under current WA regulation, if a detection occurs, it is reported and the disease is eradicated if feasible.
S-strain is endemic in WA sheep and occasionally occurs in cattle. The detection of S-strain in any species is reportable in WA but not regulated, but a detection is recorded against the property and potentially can impact on eligibility for certain live animal export markets. Further detail on JD and export market access is included in the JD (C-strain) in cattle consultation paper.
What causes Johne’s disease in cattle?
Johne’s disease is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.
The bacteria live and multiply in the lymph nodes and the small intestine of the animal and cause the intestinal wall to thicken. This reduces the animal’s ability to absorb food and water and results in continuing weight loss and death.
What are the signs of Johne’s disease in cattle?
Johne’s disease has a long incubation period. Typically, cattle are most likely infected as calves and will not show any signs of illness until they are 3 to 4 years old. However, Johne’s disease can cause reduced production levels even before the animal is noticeably unwell and the animal can be spreading the disease.
The visible signs of Johne’s disease in cattle are:
The signs of Johne’s disease in infected animals are often triggered by calving, producing milk and a lack of feed or poor feed. Infected animals can die within a few weeks to several months after the onset of signs.
How is Johne’s disease spread?
Johne’s disease can be spread among livestock through ingestion of the bacteria present in the colostrum, milk and faeces of infected animals or ingestion of soil, feed or water contaminated by the bacteria. The bacteria can survive in the soil for up to 12 months under cool, moist conditions.
Calves are most likely infected by suckling udders that have been contaminated with infected faeces. They can also be infected by drinking infected colostrum or milk or grazing contaminated pasture or feed. In cattle with visible disease, calves may also be infected in-utero.
Which animals are most at risk?
Calves are most susceptible up to 30 days old and remain at risk until around 12 months old. Cattle over 12 months old are relatively resistant and, if they do become infected, are very unlikely to develop signs of disease.
Funding of Johne's disease management
What is the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme?
The Cattle Industry Funding Scheme is authorised under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) to collect contributions from WA cattle producers to fund activities to address industry’s pest and disease priorities.
An industry-based Management Committee oversees the management of the scheme. In conjunction with the industry, the Management Committee determines which pest and disease threats require action, how best to deal with the threats and what contributions will be needed from industry to tackle the problem.
At present, cattle producers contribute 20 cents from the sale of every animal (live or carcass) to fund surveillance programs for Johne’s disease in cattle, enzootic bovine leucosis and bovine tuberculosis.
How will the management of Johne’s disease in WA be funded?
Currently, the Western Australian cattle industry funds surveillance for Johne’s disease in WA cattle from funds collected from producers via the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development implements import conditions and clearances and recovers these costs from individuals involved.
If a regulated approach to Johne’s disease continues, the industry would need to continue to fund the surveillance necessary to justify interstate border conditions.
I would like more information – who should I contact?
For more information, contact us by email at IFS@dpird.wa.gov.au. Alternatively, you can submit your questions via the Q&A function on this page, or ask your questions at one of webinars.