Australian authorities have taken precautions to keep foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), from entering their country.
Beginning July 7, a biosecurity officer boarded the plane to play an FMD message.
” “One hundred percent of travelers arriving from Indonesia” will be evaluated against their biosecurity risk profiles, and subject to intervention,” Mark Schipp (Australia’s Chief Veterinarian) said in remarks obtained by AAP.
“They might have their baggage X-rayed. A biosecurity officer might interview them.
The new measures are implemented after the identification of the contagious cattle disease in Bali. This is a favourite holiday spot for Australians.
Authorities will deploy detection dogs at Darwin, Cairns airports. They are also considering foot dips to accommodate passengers from Indonesia.
Schipp pointed out that this method was unsuitable due to the chemical used.
” They are extremely potent chemicals. They can’t be put on the skin and many passengers returning from Bali aren’t wearing boots.” he stated
Schipp believed that most approaches to quarantine would prevent transmission.
” I believe that we can keep it out long into the future… If we had an incursion it would have disastrous consequences for Australian agriculture,” said he. It is important to take it seriously .”
The Huge Economic Consequences Of FMD
If the disease spread to Australia, it would cost the livestock industry an estimated $80 billion (about US$54.5 billion).
Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt stated on July 6th that government has strengthened biosecurity at airports in Indonesia receiving flight from Indonesia.
At present, passengers with higher risk on flights to Indonesia from Indonesia have been flagged for screening.
“Australian biosecurity and particularly the threat posed by FMD is a top priority,” Watt said in a statement.
” High-level talks have taken place between the Australian and Indonesian authorities, as well as local industry .”
National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson praised the new biosecurity measures. She noted that the industry was on edge ever since FMD was discovered in Bali.
” We are pleased to see that the government has responded to industry calls to increase biosecurity by using detector dogs, more communications material for travelers and additional biosecurity staff training .”
If it spreads, Chief Vet Schipp stated that the government will compensate farmers.
This disease is a problem for cloven-hoofed animals like cattle, sheep and goats. Symptoms include blisters around the mouth, drooling and limping.
While FMD is not a threat to the human body, it can be very harmful to trade and animal health.
Currently, FMD vaccines are available. However, FMD vaccines cannot be exported under current trade regulations.
Alfred Bui, an Australian journalist based in Melbourne, focuses on business and local news. A former owner of a small business, he holds two master’s degrees. Contact him at [email protected].