Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla Vet Lab contribution recognised

A plaque was unveiled last month to recognise the work of livestock producers and veterinarians in the region.

May 9, 2014 3:19am

State Member for Benalla Bill Sykes, Mike Burston and John Copland unveiled a plaque at the former Regional Veterinary Laboratory Benalla site.

The work of livestock producers and veterinarians in the region was acknowledged last month when a plaque was unveiled at the former Regional Veterinary Laboratory Benalla site.

More than 40 employees of the former vet lab and Animal Health field staff gathered at the Sydney Rd site — now home to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries — on April 26 to celebrate the unveiling.

The plaque commemorated the contribution of local livestock producers, vet lab and Animal Health field staff and private veterinarians to the eradication of brucellosis and tuberculosis from north-east Victoria as part of the successful eradication of both diseases from Australia.

The eradication phase of these two diseases ran over two decades and cost more than $1billion nationally.

In doing this Australia achieved a world first, and continued global market access for our beef products was assured.

Former Regional Veterinary Laboratory staff member Tricia Veale said the laboratory also directly and indirectly played a role in the advancement of agriculture and fisheries across Victoria and Australia.

‘‘The laboratory was founded with the support of local livestock producers and with the co-operation of farmers, private veterinarians and Animal Health staff successfully eradicated bovine brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis from north-east Victorian herds,’’ Ms Veale said.

At last month’s gathering local beef producer Mike Burston spoke about the local livestock producers’ initiative to purchase the land on which the vet lab was built and make it available to the government to ensure the lab was located in Benalla.

The plaque was unveiled by the original vet lab director, John Copland, and State Member for Benalla and former Regional Veterinary Officer Bill Sykes

Dr Copland spoke of the wonderful team spirit among the 100 or more staff members and the emergence of the Australian National Fish Health Laboratory at Benalla.

He highlighted the significance of the vet lab’s contribution to animal health and welfare in general and the great sense of camaraderie among staff.

Following the unveiling of the plaque, people adjourned to Benalla Golf Club for a meal and to recall many fond memories of working at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory.

The lab opened in 1975 and closed in 1994.

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