OJD often spreads through trade of sheep from flocks whose owners haven't taken precautions to prevent infection, and don't even realize that their flock is infected.
If your flock is not infected and you want to buy sheep, then purchase sheep that have a low risk of having OJD. If you do buy OJD infected sheep, you not only infect your own flock, you also put your neighbours at risk because the disease crosses fences with ease.
You need a lot more than a casual assurance from the vendor to protect your flock. You need written information about OJD assurance or risk in the animal you're considering buying - you'll find it on the Sheep Health Statement.
What should I, as a buyer, do to protect my flock and my neighbours' flocks?
Always insist on a completed Sheep Health Statement from the vendor before you buy.
If you know or believe that you do not have OJD infection on your property, then buy sheep are from a flock that is Sheep MAP accredited or has testing results recorded on the SHS indicating that the flock has had a negative abattoir 500 or negative PFC 350 in the last 2 years. As an added precaution, it would be advisable to only buy vaccinated sheep from these properties.
All other sheep producers in Tasmania would be well advised to only buy 'approved vaccinate' sheep.
What do I look for on the Sheep Health Statement?
Look for sheep which have been:
- Vaccinated as lambs or vaccinated before being exposed to the disease (approved vaccinates)
- From a vendor that has been vaccinating continuously for a number of years (the more years, the better)
- From a flock in the Market Assurance Program (SheepMAP). This is the highest level of assurance possible.
- From flocks where records of testing history are available (via SHS)
How can the Sheep Health Statement help protect trade?
The Sheep Health Statement provides a means for vendors to promote the sheep with the best OJD assurance
It will also be the most valuable tool by which buyers can minimise risk.
See the Sheep Health Statement Explanatory notes for a guide to understanding the information that will be provided to you on the Sheep Health Statement the next time you purchase or agist sheep.