26 September 2023

Travellers called to avoid overseas livestock

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Travellers holidaying in Bali are being urged to do their bit to prevent the highly contagious Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) from reaching Australia’s shores.

Urging travellers to exercise caution, Minister for Regional NSW, Paul Toole said the impact of an FMD outbreak in Australia would be disastrous for the livestock sector, the economy and regional communities.

“We have kept Australia FMD free for more than 130 years, but it is now on our doorstep and we all have a role to play to keep our industry safe,” Mr Toole said.

“The message to travellers is simple: if you’re heading to Bali or somewhere that may have been affected by FMD for a holiday – or know someone who is – please do the right thing when you return to Australia,” he said.

“That means declaring where you’ve been, making sure any clothes and shoes you bring in are clean and free from soil and manure, avoiding encounters with livestock on your travels and staying away from farms or anywhere there might be livestock for seven days when you get home.

“Now is not the time for complacency – one dirty pair of shoes could devastate an entire industry.”

Mr Toole said NSW welcomed moves by the Commonwealth to increase biosecurity measures on incoming flights from Indonesia, but was keen to see biosecurity ramped up further.

Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders said an incursion of FMD would have severe consequences for Australia’s animal health and trade, including significant economic losses with restrictions placed on both domestic and international markets for live animals, meat and animal products.

“An uncontrolled outbreak could lead to the immediate closure of our meat export markets, and control costs have been estimated at more than $80 billion,” Mr Saunders said.

He encouraged primary producers to engage in detailed contingency planning, to be overly cautious with people who came into contact with their livestock, and monitor closely for signs of FMD – which include blisters in and around the mouth area, drooling and limping.

“I have requested the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services ramp up their work with farmers to recognise the signs of Foot and Mouth Disease in their stock,” Mr Saunders said.

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