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Tuesday, 11 April 1972
Page: 913

Senator LAUCKE (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the attention of the Minister for Health been drawn to an article which appeared in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' last Friday relating to the expressed intention of at least 2 Canadian artificial breeding centres to export cattle semen to Australia by March 1973 following the relaxation in mid February of the embargo on such imports? As the dreaded cattle disease blue tongue is suffered in Canada, are adequate precautions being taken to protect our cattle industry from such diseases as a result of the importation of cattle semen from that country?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - That article was brought to my attention. I can say that the importation of bovine semen from Canada has been approved under the most stringent conditions of health and testing for blue, tongue ever imposed by Australia. The specific tests for blue tongue include both sheep transmission .tests and laboratory tests. Semen may not be collected from donor bulls which have ever been in a country in which blue tongue is known to have been present and the collection of semen is permitted only from approved artificial insemination centres. Bulls which have been in a country where blue tongue is present are excluded from these centres. As an added measure, of safety, semen must be stored in Canada for at least 12 months after the date of collection. Should blue tongue be diagnosed in Canada during that period the semen would not be permitted into Australia and the whole situation would be reviewed.

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