Indonesia pledges to halt foot and mouth outbreak as virus fragments found in Australia
Indonesia is imploring Australia not to panic, despite a shortage of foot and mouth vaccines or even personnel to administer the shots to livestock.Australia has been free of the disease for over a century but just one positive case of foot and mouth could shut the $27 billion livestock export trade down for months or even years. The federal government has estimated the total cost of a major outbreak at $80 billion.
An emergency taskforce to deal with a potential outbreak of foot and mouth disease will be set up in Victoria. © Tracey Nearmy/AAP PHOTOS Hundreds of Agriculture Victoria staff are being trained to deal with a potential disease outbreak.
It comes as Australian agriculture ministers agreed on a draft national biosecurity strategy at a recent meeting that discussed the disease, which has the potential to cripple the country's livestock industry.
The Andrews government's emergency animal disease taskforce will focus on bolstering Agriculture Victoria's workforce to help manage the potential social, economic, and environmental threats posed by foot and mouth.
Foot-and-mouth disease is on Australia's doorstep. What will it look like if it spreads?
Viral fragments of foot-and-mouth-disease have been found in Australia. But what does that actually mean — and what would it look like if it spread throughout the country?More than 20 years on from living through the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the UK, her memories of livestock being burned in paddocks are visceral.
More than 300 Agriculture Victoria staff are undertaking foot and mouth disease-specific training, scenario planning, and emergency exercises.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Gayle Tierney said biosecurity and the protection of agriculture, the economy and the natural environment is everyone's responsibility.
"Risk assessment and preparedness is key in ensuring we're best placed to respond if there is a positive detection in livestock in Victoria – and we're doing the work now to protect our industry," she said.
Victoria is the only jurisdiction that has a mandatory electronic national livestock identification system for sheep and goats, with an average 10.5 million sheep tags purchased every year.
State cattle producers buy 2.5 million cattle tags each year, according to the Victorian government.
New rules for travellers coming from Indonesia to Australia due to foot-and-mouth disease risk
Passengers flying back to Australia from Indonesia claimed authorities were only cleaning shoes if tourists actively declared them, despite fears of foot-and-mouth disease spreading to Australia.Australia's new sanitation measures were set to be enforced from midnight on Friday but passengers travelling from Indonesia through Melbourne and Sydney airports said they saw no changes.
Livestock traceability was among the issues on the agenda for the first meeting of agriculture ministers under the new Albanese government last week.
After an eight-month hiatus, ministers resolved to advance work on a national approach to Australia's livestock traceability systems, noting a mandatory identification system is urgently needed for sheep and goats.
They agreed in-principle to the draft National Biosecurity Strategy, according to a communiqué published on Friday.
The strategy is poised to offer a roadmap towards a better co-ordinated national system to deal with agricultural pressures, like foot and mouth disease and the destructive varroa mite.
The meeting was the first chaired by federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt.
"Threats of foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease and varroa mite reinforces the importance of a strong, shared biosecurity effort, because incursions don't stop at our borders," Senator Watt said in a statement on Saturday.
"As a result, we have agreed on pathways to deliver a national framework to improve biosecurity, through more traceability and a new national strategy."
The agriculture ministers also agreed workforce shortages were among the biggest issues facing Australia's agricultural industries, and said tackling them would be an ongoing priority.
The ministers will meet again in coming weeks.
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A new study suggests bees can feel pain. It’s a big deal in the quest to determine whether or not insects are sentient.In a study published last week in the journal PNAS, researchers in the United Kingdom found that bees trade off exposure to heat in order to access better food. The finding suggests bees aren’t just mindless automata responding to stimuli but rather conscious, feeling creatures that can experience pain and engage in complex decision-making.