Foot and mouth a 'disaster'A significant outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia would cost the country more than $50 billion over 10 years, according to a new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Acting Executive Director at ABARES, Kim Ritman, said producers of beef, sheep, dairy and wool would be devastated by a large FMD outbreak.
“All red meat, live animal and livestock product exports to most major trading partners would stop until the disease was eradicated and market access could be renegotiated,” Dr Ritman said.
He noted this could be a lengthy process, pointing to the experiences of other countries with disease outbreaks and Australia’s own challenges in opening new export markets.
“It could take several years before we could get our products back into our major export markets,” Dr Ritman said
Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Mark Schipp, said the ABARES report served as a timely reminder about the importance of maintaining an effective biosecurity system in Australia.
“Australia has a comprehensive biosecurity system designed to keep diseases such as FMD out of the country,” Dr Schipp said.
“We have stringent controls at the border and we do quite a lot of work with our near neighbours in South-East Asia to minimise the risk of it getting in.”
He said plans were in place to ensure that, in the unlikely event that the disease did get into the country, it would be eradicated as quickly as possible.
“This involves the Australian Government working closely with the States and Territories as well as with industry to ensure we’re prepared and respond rapidly,” Dr Schipp said.
To view report visit this PS News link.
Edition 383, 15 October 2013