Sheep Producers Australia (SPA) is the Peak National Industry Body for the Australian Sheep Meat Industry. Based in Canberra, our purpose is to be a strategic leader working to benefit Australia’s sheep industry to achieve a productive, profitable, and sustainable future. SPA’s vision is to be a trusted influencer, leader and advisor for Australian sheep producers, industry, and government.
Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years, however FMD has shown its ability to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world.
A group of experts led by Australia’s chief vet Dr Mark Schipp concluded there was an 11.6 percent chance of FMD reaching Australia in the next five years, up from 9 percent prior to the disease being detected in Indonesia this May.
The risk to Australia remains low in the absence of close contact between animals or the importation of infected products or contaminated clothing and footwear. https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/fmd
If a disease outbreak occurs arrangements are in place to allow for a rapid nationally coordinated response, including cost-sharing and compensation. Australia has advanced surveillance systems, agreements, and protocols in place to rapidly detect and respond to exotic disease incursions.
Dr Mark Schipp recently did a podcast with AgWatchers about the Facts on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) https://open.spotify.com/episode/7hEX76Hf8wPOeg5SbO2EHB
The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) and AUSVETPLAN set out government and industry obligations in the event of an EAD outbreak, and provide guidance on the management and control measures that may take place.
Where a vet confirms a suspicion of FMD they will immediately take samples and send these to the Australian Animal Health Laboratory at Geelong for diagnosis. Diagnosis takes 24 hours. Meanwhile the premises will be quarantined and plans activated so the response can be initiated as soon as the results are known.
If there is a single point outbreak authorities should be able to isolate and eradicate the disease quickly. If the disease has already taken hold and spread across a state or over borders, it will take much longer. The length of time taken to control and eradicate the disease will depend on how long the virus has been present before it is detected and the degree of spread.
Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) modelling projects a widespread FMD outbreak in Australia would have an estimated direct economic impact of around $80 billion over ten years and over $12 billion in lost revenue for the sheep industry, as outlined by ABARES.
Impact on exports – meat, wool, grain?
While there would be significant market disruptions the trade implications are difficult to predict with certainty as this will be highly situational and will vary across markets.
Once FMD is confirmed, most countries will immediately ban the importation of any FMD‐susceptible products. There may be some trade able to be negotiated to FMD endemic markets.
The response to a disease outbreak conducted under the EADRA is cost-shared, meaning governments and industries split the costs of the response based on a pre-agreed formula.
Some additional information below and more resources including FAQ are here Resource Hub – Animal Health Australia.
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has additional resources here Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) | Meat & Livestock Australia (mla.com.au)
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