The Pastoralists and Graziers Association has backed a ban on live exports to Indonesia and other key markets from Kimberley properties with cattle at risk of carrying bovine Johne's disease.
PGA president Rob Gillam said the ban was another blow for the industry in the short-term but vital to protect the region's reputation for disease-free cattle.
The Department of Agriculture and Food WA has traced 476 bulls from a Queensland property where BJD has been detected to six stations in the Kimberley.
Mustering has started on three of the stations as DAFWA works with pastoralists to find the bulls so they can be slaughtered and tested for BJD.
DAFWA livestock industries executive director Kevin Chennell stressed that WA retained its BJD-free status despite the ban on exports to BJD-sensitive markets and movement restrictions on stock from the properties under investigation.
The Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry imposed the export ban to protect key markets, chiefly Indonesia which is forecast to import 267,000 of the 550,000 head of cattle shipped from Australia this year.
Mr Gillam said there was no confirmation that BJD had found its way into WA but the industry needed to act with extreme care while the investigation was carried out.
"At this stage we do need the restrictions because Indonesia is BJD-sensitive and if we were to do the wrong thing there we might damage that market there much more in the long term," he said.
"If we don't clear this up properly, many of the prime markets of the world, which we can access because we are so clean, green and disease-free in WA, will be closed to us. Countries such as Turkey and Israel, Malaysia and the emerging market in Vietnam are all BJD sensitive."BJD infection causes a thickening of the gut lining which reduces the animal's ability to absorb food and water, and results in diarrhoea and weight loss.
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