John Brady
John Brady Chris Ison

Vets back call for horse levy

VETS have backed a call by Cawarral stud owner John Brady for a levy on the horse industry to fund research into a vaccine for Hendra virus.

Mr Brady owns the property at the centre of the Hendra outbreak that claimed the life of Rockhampton vet Alister Rodgers.

And this week, as the eight-week quarantine on his business was lifted, he asked Premier Anna Bligh to impose a $25 levy on the horse registration fee to pay for research into the deadly virus.

Although there has been a mixed response - with Queensland Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin suggesting it should be a matter for the Federal Government - the Australian Veterinary Association says it supports the idea.

Dr Mark Lawrie, the association's president, said a levy would provide comprehensive benefits to the horse industry and fund vital research into diseases such as Hendra.

“There is still so much we need to learn about diseases such as the Hendra virus, and using part of a levy to fund research is crucial for horse owners and the industry,” he said.

“The horse industry is the only major industry not supported by a levy which puts this sector at risk of emerging animal diseases.

“So it is time to look seriously at funding research and emergency disease responses through a national horse levy.”

Dr Lawrie said he believed research funding had to come from a combination of horse owners, government and industry and attacked a decision to shut Australia's Biosecurity Co-operative Research Centre.


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