Lab closure set to be a 'lose-lose situation'

WATTLE Brae Stud principal Gary Turkington has concerns the closure of Toowoomba's Animal Disease Surveillance Laboratory will have dire consequences for horse breeders and farmers alike.

The closure announced by State Government on September 11 had livestock workers holding their breath, with the next closest lab at Coopers Plains.

"In my opinion, it's convenient for us (to have it in Toowoomba) because if we have any concerns we can get on top of things instantly and get it analysed straight away," Mr Turkington said.

"Not having it there will probably mean that people won't get autopsies done.

"People aren't going to wrap up a foetus in the car and take it to Brisbane - we are all working people and it would take half the day and we can't afford to be away from our jobs."

Mr Turkington said while he understood cuts were needed, he felt "they need to look at another way".

A Darling Downs Biosecurity Queensland officer was up in arms with the closure.

"(It means) lost jobs for most of the small specialised biosecurity laboratory at Toowoomba and will also mean the loss of most of their current services to the Queensland agricultural sector - a lose-lose situation," he said.

The officer said the Toowoomba lab had been at the bottom of numerous serious outbreaks, proving its vital function in the region.

"In recent times, the ADSL has diagnosed serious zoonotic and exotic diseases such as avian influenza in 2012, swine influenza in 2012, 2008-9, anthrax in 2002 and equine influenza in 2007-8," he said.

"In the first seven months of 2012, the ADSL did 105 autopsies of farm livestock compared to two at the BSL (Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory in Coopers Plains)."

A petition currently stands on the Queensland Parliament website with 1006 votes to keep it open.

See parliament.qld.gov.au to sign the petition.



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