IN response to the evolving situation in Indonesia with lumpy skin disease since March, and foot and mouth disease since May, there has been a considerable increase in response and preparedness activities within the biosecurity system.
The federal government's activities pre-border and at the border have ramped up and, behind the scenes, industry and government have been reviewing well-established plans and processes (AUSVETPLAN and cost sharing arrangements have been in place for 20 years) and plugging any gaps uncovered with new or updated protocols.
According to the expert biosecurity risk panel (CEBRA), the chance that Australia will experience an outbreak of one of these diseases within the next five years has risen to 28 per cent for LSD and nearly 12pc for FMD. So, while focus continues to be on keeping both diseases out, we need to prepare for the unthinkable, which is that they make it through our defences, in order to minimise the damage and quickly get back to normal trading conditions.
While producers are understandably concerned about what is happening pre-border and at the border, their efforts are best directed closer to home - ensuring their 'farm border' and on-property biosecurity management is as strong as possible.
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Livestock SA continues to encourage producers to have a watertight farm biosecurity plan and action it. The plan must assess biosecurity risks and outline all measures taken to prevent endemic and emergency animal diseases from entering the farm, as this will be critical in the event of an outbreak.
The ability to accurately and quickly identify and trace animals through the supply chain is vital, and producers are encouraged to take the time to get National Livestock Identification System database transfers and National Vendor Declarations right, as this underpins the traceability system.
A common question Livestock SA has been fielding from producers is what would happen if FMD was detected on-property.
The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement, which is prepared by government and supported by the impacted industries, would be put into action. The EADRA is a unique agreement that allows government and industry to respond quickly and effectively to an EAD incident while minimising uncertainty about management and funding arrangements.
Early identification of any EAD, particularly FMD, is critical so producers need to know what to look for. Livestock SA encourages all producers to know the signs of the different EADs and if in doubt report it for investigation - 1800 675 888. Early identification is key to reducing the timeline and severity of an outbreak as it can be contained to the smallest possible area.
The duration of a standstill will ultimately depend on the nature of the outbreak.- TRAVIS TOBIN
Another common query from producers relates to livestock movements.
If an incursion of FMD is strongly suspected or confirmed in Australia, a national livestock standstill would be initiated for 72 hours, stopping any movement of livestock to trace the infection.
The duration of a standstill will ultimately depend on the nature of the outbreak. Depending on the outbreak, jurisdictions may also stop the movement of meat, offal, wool, carcases and livestock handling or processing equipment.
What happens to livestock in transit during a standstill will depend on a risk assessment, the place of origin and destination. Producers and transporters would be informed of actions to take in this event.
Livestock SA has established a dedicated EAD webpage to house relevant and up-to-date information for producers, while an SA Emergency Animal Disease Industry Update and Q&A webinar will be held next Thursday, August 4, from 5.30pm to 6.45pm.
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