Dr Gardner Murray
Gardner was the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer at the time when BSE first became a major issue for the United Kingdom Government in the late 1980s. He very early in the piece realized that the ramifications of this particular disaster for the UK livestock and meat industries would not stay within the boundaries of the UK and that the flow-on effects thereof would inevitably cause significant problems for particularly the Australian cattle and sheep industries and, as a consequence, all industry related thereto including the Australian rendering industry.
He was very proactive in taking steps to ensure that any problems for Australia were kept to an absolute minimum! In this regard he arranged for his UK counterpart to visit Australia so as to provide the opportunity for livestock, meat and related industries’ leaders to meet with him to gain, firsthand, knowledge as to the extent of the problem facing the UK Government. He also encouraged industries to take whatever steps were needed to ensure that their systems were such that any flow-on effects from the UK BSE disaster would be minimized.
His quick action and forward thinking provided the opportunity for the Australian rendering industry to develop its Code of Practice for the Hygienic Rendering of Animal Products (which
subsequently became an Australian Standard) and to introduce a system of accreditation of rendering establishments as complying with the Code. This was followed by accreditation workshops to train hands-on industry personnel in good rendering practices as well as the convening of a Symposium in order to inform and educate the general industry in all aspects relating to rendering. It is pleasing to note that the accreditation workshops have continued to be held each year – sometimes twice each year – and that Symposia have been held every
two years since the first one in 1991.
It was timely that Gardner should be recognized by the ARA for his contributions to the industry of which the BSE example above is, albeit the major one, only one of many ways in which he assisted the industry with his wisdom and insight over many years.