Travellers urged to do the right thing to keep FMD out
Livestock SA is pleading for international travellers to be hyper-vigilant with biosecurity, particularly as foot and mouth disease (FMD) spreads in Indonesia.
With the advent of school holidays and international borders reopening, Livestock SA CEO Travis Tobin said Australia’s livestock industry was relying on travellers – particularly those returning from Bali – to do the right thing to help keep FMD out of the country.
“Returning international travellers play a vital role in keeping Australia FMD-free, something Australia has managed to do for 150 years” Mr Tobin said.
“The country’s $32 billion livestock industry and the communities it supports are counting on those travellers to take their biosecurity responsibilities seriously and take measures to ensure they don’t bring FMD in with them.”
Mr Tobin said there were simple and essential measures travellers could take to keep Australian livestock safe from FMD.
“It’s as easy as thoroughly cleaning clothes and footwear before boarding the flight home and, once they here, to stay away from farms for at least a month,” he said.
“Better still, I would encourage returning travellers from Indonesia to throw out their footwear before they come home.
Mr Tobin compared FMD in livestock to COVID-19 in humans, stating how quickly both can spread if the necessary precautions and hygiene measures are not being taken.
He said FMD presented a significant socio-economic risk to Australia.
“The Australian Government estimates a widespread FMD outbreak in Australia would have a direct economic impact of around $80 billion. Social impacts will occur at the individual, household and community levels.”
“Red meat and wool production accounts for a quarter of South Australia’s primary industries and agribusiness revenue and, more broadly, Australia exports more than 70 per cent of its red meat,” he said.
“If FMD were to be found here, international trade of livestock products from Australia would be shut down overnight.
“The implications of this to our economy and rural communities would be brutal and far reaching, with many businesses unlikely to be able to recover from an FMD outbreak, he said.
FMD is a highly contagious disease of animals that affects cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, buffalo and camels. It can spread through close contact between animals and be carried on animal products or by the wind.