Central to her passion for the cattle industry and its protection in Australia, Regan was recently named as the 2023 Nuffield Scholar. Supported by Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia, Regan plans to travel Australia and internationally to investigate farms’ attitudes to biosecurity.
“Biosecurity has always been something that’s very close to me. I’m very passionate about it in the context of northern Australia, which is where I feel at home,” she says. “I’m really excited to see where this research takes me. I’m also so happy to be part of this network of very passionate Australians who are looking to further their knowledge and disseminate information about their industries.
“With emerging animal disease, like foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease or even rabies, there is often a lot of discussion about what the government is doing to combat it. That is really important, but often in northern cattle industries, we’re very reliant on our producers to notice and speak up if something isn’t right or there may be a disease occurring,” Regan says. “It’s really important to have producers flagging these problems so they can be investigated, identified and action can be taken to reduce the negative impact.”
“It’s really important to have vets on the ground in regional and rural areas so that we can pick up on these diseases and ensure that we don’t allow these outbreaks to devastate our industries.”
JCU Alumni Regan Lynch
“So, what I want to research is whether people working in these industries — agents, ringers, and managers — experience any barriers to reporting concerns around biosecurity and disease. If there are any barriers, how can we develop stronger relationships between vets and those people responsible for reporting? It’s really important to make sure that people are comfortable to pick up the phone and report if they are concerned and something might need investigating.
“It can be very stressful — emotionally and financially — for producers to have to deal with animal diseases,” Regan says. “Our farmers can experience a lot of stress and tension because of this, but we need to assure everyone that they can say something and they won’t be penalised for it.”
In terms of the future, Regan says she is committed to practicing animal medicine but would like to continue developing her interest in research and policy. “I want to make sure we can fully utilise on-the-ground knowledge and ensure that policy can match the practicalities of farming. I want to ensure that we all get a voice at the table so that we can reach the best possible outcomes for everyone.”