Check for eye cancer in cattle

Check first: Eye cancers are not uncommon in cows and farmers should check for tumours before taking cattle to saleyards. Photo by Cath Grey

Agriculture Victoria is reminding farmers to check their cattle for eye cancers before bringing them to saleyards.

Advanced eye cancer is unacceptable due to animal welfare considerations.

If the tumour of the eye is smaller than two centimetres and not bleeding or discharging, it is allowed in Victorian saleyards, but for slaughter only.

Cattle with eye cancers between two to three centimetres, that are not bleeding or discharging, may go direct to an abattoir at owners' risk of non-payment.

Otherwise, they must be treated or destroyed humanely on farm. They must not go near a saleyard.

An eye cancer larger than two centimetres is a notifiable disease; owners should seek veterinary advice if in doubt.

The recommended method of disposal of cattle with small eye cancers is direct to an abattoir.

Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986, owners may face cruelty charges if they allow eye cancers to grow too large.

In all cases, early detection, treatment and prompt disposal of affected animals is necessary.

More information on the Code of Practice for animal welfare can be found at: