Australia enjoys a global reputation for being free of mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Stock food manufacturers, sellers of stock food and livestock producers all have a role in protecting our bovine spongiform encephalopathy-free status by rigorous adherence to the ruminant feed ban.
The ban is the banning of feeding of restricted animal material to ruminants. Ruminant animals include cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, deer and camels.
Restricted is any material taken from a vertebrate animal other than tallow, gelatin, milk and milk products. It includes meat, meat and bone meal, blood meal, fish meal, poultry meal and feather meal, manure and compounded feeds made from these products. The ban serves to ensure that if the bovine spongiform encephalopathy disease agent were ever introduced to Australia, it would not be able to be amplified and establish a cycle of infection.
The fundamental aim is the protection of public and animal health, and the interests of trade. Victoria has had a legislated ruminant feed ban since 1996.
Manufacturers, suppliers and sellers of stock food containing restricted animal material are required to ensure it is appropriately labelled.
Agriculture Victoria animal health and welfare staff are currently carrying out audits which target all sectors of the livestock feed chain from renderers, to stock food manufacturers, stock food resellers and livestock producers.
For more advice, contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria veterinary or animal health officer, or in NSW your Local Land Services.