Voluntary abattoir surveillance for Johne's disease in sheep
Voluntary abattoir inspections
Producers can request that their sheep are inspected for Johne's Disease (JD) when sending them through Thomas Food International (TFI) abattoirs in South Australia. The sheep are inspected for lesions in the intestinal tract.
Any lesions detected will be further tested to confirm JD by the laboratory (tissue examination – histopathology).
Requirements and eligibility of sheep
Animals must be over two years of age to be eligible for abattoir inspection. Animals under two years have not yet undertaken the typical incubation period after which disease can be identified through abattoir inspection.
Only consignments of sheep sold direct to a participating abattoir will be eligible. Sheep sold through saleyards will not be eligible.
What is Abattoir 150 and 500?
At least 150 sheep, over two years of age, have been submitted to an abattoir in the past 12 months, in one or more lots, and have been examined and all found negative for Johne's disease in sheep. The sheep must have been on the property for at least two years.
At least 500 sheep, over two years of age, have been submitted to an abattoir in the past 24 months, in one or more lots, and have been examined and all found negative for Johne's disease in sheep. The sheep must have been on the property for at least two years.
Applying for an abattoir inspection
To apply to have sheep inspected for Johne's disease at TFI abattoirs, the following information must be provided no later than one week before the consignment is due to be processed:
- Trading Name
- Number of sheep to be processed
- Proposed dispatch date from farm
- Proposed processing date
- Contact phone number
Email requests for abattoir inspections to: PIRSA.OJDAbattoirSurveillance@sa.gov.au
PIRSA monitor this inbox Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and will endeavour to see that requests are fulfilled promptly.
What happens if Johne's disease is detected?
If Johne's disease lesions are detected in the abattoir inspection, samples will be taken and sent to Gribbles VETLAB.
These lesions will then be assessed microscopically by a Veterinary Pathologist to confirm whether the OJD bacterium is present and responsible for the lesions sampled.
Once confirmed by the laboratory, PIRSA will inform you of the final results and assist you with options on how to proceed in the management of the disease.
For further information on managing JD on your property visit the Managing Johne's disease on infected properties page.
What happens if Johne's disease is not detected?
Having no lesions detected does not necessarily mean your flock is free from Johne's disease. It means that it is unlikely the disease has been present for a long period of time at a significant level within this group of animals.
Regular faecal testing of a representative sample of your sheep flock is still the best way to demonstrate that your flock is at low-risk of having the disease.
At the request of the producer, PIRSA can issue certificates for animals slaughtered in South Australia, verifying that the sheep flock is eligible for either an Abattoir 150 or Abattoir 500 status. This status can then be used when declaring your Johne's disease status on the National Sheep Health Declaration and in One Biosecurity.
PIRSA will contact you by email with the results of the abattoir inspection as soon as practically possible after the consignment has been processed.
Enhanced Abattoir Surveillance program
The Enhanced Abattoir Surveillance (EAS) program provides South Australian producers with feedback on 19 other health conditions and diseases that have been detected at TFI abattoirs.
EAS inspection of sheep does not require a request form to be filled out and does NOT cover Johne's disease. Inspection for Johne's disease is voluntary and will only occur on request.
PIRSA Animal Health Advisor
Phone: (08) 8568 6403
Mobile: 0427 274 102
Sheep inspections in Victoria
Producers can also apply to have sheep inspected at Victorian abattoirs.
Agriculture Victoria, Senior Veterinarian
Phone: (03) 9217 4109
Mobile: 0447 525 635