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Cow disease dispute erupts: McVeigh hits back at claims

Shane Paulger
Shane Paulger Renee Pilcher

ANGRY Kenilworth farmer Shane Paulger hit out at the State Government earlier this week over his farm's quarantine lockdown, prompting a reply from Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh.

Mr Paulger argues a trace-forward cow on his property suspected of contact with Bovine Johne's Disease has been cleared by numerous tests and wants the quarantine restrictions lifted.

While under quarantine "despite the clear tests", Mr Paulger claims his livelihood and family's reputation is on the chopping board.

Mr Paulger's frustration has aggravated the State Government.

It has taken umbrage at the suggestion that it is playing politics because Mr Paulger is a Katter's Australian Party candidate for the seat of Gympie at the next state election.

"I became aware of Mr Paulger's BJD issue on March 6, when he and I met with the Independent Member for Nicklin, Peter Wellington, in my office at Parliament House," Mr McVeigh said.

"I immediately arranged for a meeting between Mr Paulger and our Chief Biosecurity Officer that very same day at our Brisbane head office to investigate options to help him out of quarantine."

Mr McVeigh said the restrictions in place were for the purpose of disease control and said they "had no relation whatsoever to other issues such as his own declared political affiliations".

"His suggestions otherwise are completely false, rather childish and appear to be more about using the situation for his own political purposes and posturing, rather than truly wanting to work with those wanting to assist him out of quarantine as quickly as possible.

"All decisions regarding property quarantine and management are not dreamt up by me as the Minister, rather they are set by national agreements and protocols which are fully supported by the Queensland industry - both beef and dairy, including peak industry groups such as AgForce, the Queensland Dairy Organisation, the Cattle Council of Australia and Animal Health Australia.

"Mr Paulger has a trace-forward animal from a NSW herd identified as infected with BJD. Mr Paulger has indicated his desire to retain his trace-forward cow for his own commercial reasons and to do so he must comply with the national protocols.

"Mr Paulger's cow had one round of tests last year and is now overdue for the six-monthly test. Mr Paulger has refused to undertake further tests at this point in time and has told my department he doesn't want to work with them.

"My department has tried to work with Mr Paulger. However to be fair to all producers, he must follow the same rules as other producers in similar situations."

Topics:  mcveigh

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