Knowl­edge boost for biose­cu­rity

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK -

The De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment has in­vested in a se­ries of emer­gency an­i­mal dis­ease work­shops de­liv­ered to live­stock sa­le­yard work­ers through­out WA.

DPIRD ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer Rod Thomp­son said the work­shops were de­signed to fur­ther de­velop the skills of live­stock work­ers in de­tect­ing signs of emer­gency an­i­mal dis­eases.

“Sa­le­yard work­ers are in con­tact with live­stock from all over the State ev­ery day, which makes them an ideal line of de­fence against emer­gency an­i­mal dis­eases,” he said.

Dr Thomp­son said WA’s live­stock sec­tor was built on a rep­u­ta­tion for high-qual­ity, healthy live­stock and live­stock prod­ucts, with 80 per cent of its prod­uct ex­ported to over­seas mar­kets.

“To pro­tect mar­ket ac­cess and con­trol the risk of dis­ease spread, live­stock must be reg­u­larly checked for signs of dis­ease, and any un­usual signs re­ported to a DPIRD vet­eri­nar­ian, pri­vate vet­eri­nar­ian or the Emer­gency An­i­mal Dis­ease Hot­line on 1800 675 888,” he said.

“Early de­tec­tion and re­port­ing of an emer­gency dis­ease out­break are crit­i­cal in re­duc­ing the spread of dis­ease and min­imis­ing the re­sult­ing eco­nomic and so­cial costs.”

Dr Thomp­son said the work­shops aimed to help sa­le­yard staff un­der­stand the po­ten­tial im­pacts of emer­gency an­i­mal dis­eases and pro­vide them with the skills re­quired to de­tect and re­port emer­gency dis­eases, par­tic­u­larly footand-mouth dis­ease.

“Foot-and-mouth dis­ease is a highly in­fec­tious, vi­ral dis­ease that af­fects cloven-hooved (two-toed) an­i­mals, in­clud­ing sheep, cat­tle, pigs and goats,” he said.

“If an out­break of foot-and­mouth dis­ease oc­curred in Aus­tralia, it could close many of Aus­tralia’s ex­port mar­kets overnight.”

Dr Thomp­son said it had been es­ti­mated that a large-scale out- break of foot-and-mouth dis­ease could cost Aus­tralia up to $52 bil­lion, mainly in lost mar­kets.

The work­shops have been held in the past six months, com­menc­ing at Muchea Live­stock Cen­tre and more re­cently at Mount Barker, Boy­anup and Katan­ning sa­le­yards.

Live­stock trans­porters and stock agents also at­tended the work­shops.

“Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vi­tal in man­ag­ing a dis­ease out­break and the work­shops have been great in build­ing and main­tain­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween front­line live­stock work­ers at sa­le­yards, agents, live­stock trans­porters, de­part­ment vet­eri­nar­i­ans and com­pli­ance staff,” Dr Thomp­son said.

The early de­tec­tion of emer­gency an­i­mal dis­eases work­shops are a part of the DPIRD’s Boost­ing Biose­cu­rity De­fences project, sup­ported by Roy­al­ties for Re­gions.

De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer An­drew Larkins (cen­tre), with emer­gency an­i­mal dis­ease work­shop par­tic­i­pants Michael Lynch, of Land­mark, and Gary Ham­mond, of El­ders, at one of the work­shops.

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