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Use of odour detection dogs in residue management programs

Crook, A. (2000) Use of odour detection dogs in residue management programs. Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences, 13 . p. 219. ISSN 1976-5517

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The detection of organochlorine (OC) residues in beef exported to USA in 1987 prompted the banning of the use of OC’s and a national recall of OC chemicals on farm. Meatwork monitoring has proved successful in detecting cattle with organochlorine residues, however, identifying the actual source of these residues on farm has proved more challenging. The national NORM program (National Organochlorine Residue Management program) commenced in 1995. The program focus is on active management of OC broad acre and point source contamination at the farm level. To do this requires accurate and efficient identification of OC point sources that provide potential to produce cattle with OC residues above Australian MRL’s. In an effort to improve the efficiency of detecting OC contamination in the on-farm environment, the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) Animal and Plant Health Service has taken the initiative to develop and train an odour detection dog, Norm. Norm is a world first in the area of residue detection and is trained to seek out a range of organochlorines in the soil, specifically dieldrin, aldrin, DDT and its breakdown products, DDD and DDE. His detection level is to 1ppm for each of the above odours, however, he is capable of detecting at much lower levels. Norm’s key detection ability lies in the identification of point sources of OC residue. Norm is an active response dog, which means when he detects an imprinted odour, he will dig actively at the site. Norm also displays Attitude Changes and Obvious Physical Reactions (OPR’s) when he detects OC odour, and these indications are useful in mapping out the boundaries of contaminated areas. Norm has been in training since 1997 and became fully field operational in July 1999. The on-farm work has led to many learnings about the finer points of canine OC odour detection, including consideration of weather conditions, soil temperature and soil type. In anticipation of Norm’s success, a second odour detection dog has commenced imprinting with Craig Murray at his training complex at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast. This dog is expected to be ready for transfer to a handler later in 2000.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection > Pesticides
Animal culture > Working animals
Live Archive:04 Jan 2024 00:45
Last Modified:04 Jan 2024 00:45

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