CUMNOCK cattle producers Sue and Warwick O’Brien say removal of a ban on importing beef from countries that have had mad cow disease could wipe out local beef producers.
The federal government imposed the ban in 2010 following an outbreak of mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in the United Kingdom and Europe.
The couple are among many supporters of the import ban in the Country Women’s Association (CWA) who plan to lodge a formal submission with the senate committee to keep the ban in place.
“I don’t think really anyone has given it enough thought, it would be catastrophic and flow on to other industries,” Mrs O’Brien said.
Australian beef producers have the ability to cater for the nation’s needs Mrs O’Brien said and they should not risk importing beef from other countries.
M & J Butcher owner Michael Borg backed her call and said mad cow disease would cause devastation to the Australian beef industry.
“The quality controls wouldn’t be as good as ours,” he said.
“I support them [the CWA] 100 per cent, you wouldn’t want to go up against the CWA ladies.”
Mrs O’Brien said even without the risk of disease to Australian cattle and the public, there is absolutely no need to import.
“I don’t think we should ever import beef, we have such a good industry here it’s so regulated ,” she said. “It’s like importing apples from New Zealand.”
CWA central west president Margaret Brown said many CWA members are also beef producers and hope to have an impact in large numbers.
“There have been thousands of cases of mad cow in the last 10 years,” she said.
Mrs Brown said the introduction of infected cattle into Australia would have agricultural, economic, health and social ramifications for the country.
Mrs Brown said she expects the CWA’s Agriculture and Environmental Committee to put forward the senate enquiry submission by April 8.