China yet to recog­nise dis­ease-free sta­tus

Shepparton News - Country News - - INTERNATIONAL DAIRY WEEK 2018 -

China con­tin­ues to refuse to ac­cept dairy heifers from north­ern Vic­to­ria, de­spite lo­cal au­thor­i­ties declar­ing the re­gion is free of the blue­tongue virus.

In­dus­try sources have con­firmed that the ex­port of cat­tle to China from the area around Echuca re­mains sus­pended be­cause Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are yet to for­mally ac­knowl­edge that the tem­po­rary BTV zone has been lifted.

Re­stric­tions are in place for a small num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, that re­quire an­i­mals to be sourced from a blue­tongue-virus-free zone.

The de­ci­sion is re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant costs to the in­dus­try ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Live­stock Ex­porters Coun­cil.

‘‘Any sup­ply chain dis­rup­tion comes at a sig­nif­i­cant com­mer­cial cost to pro­duc­ers, agents and ex­porters and we are hope­ful that any fur­ther dis­rup­tion will be lim­ited,’’ a spokesper­son said.

‘‘For this valu­able trade to be suc­cess­ful, all stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing pro­duc­ers, ex­porters and our im­porter cus­tomers must have full con­fi­dence in our biose­cu­rity and reg­u­la­tory sys­tems.’’

Blue­tongue is a vi­ral dis­ease of live­stock spread to ru­mi­nants by fly­ing in­sects known as midges.

While BTV is en­demic in north­ern Aus­tralia, Vic­to­ria, along with the rest of south­ern Aus­tralia, has pre­vi­ously been clas­si­fied as be­ing free of BTV.

Con­cerns were orig­i­nally raised about the ex­is­tence of the virus in Oc­to­ber, when the past ex­po­sure to blue­tongue virus was de­tected in sev­eral 12-month-old dairy heifers on a prop­erty near Ba­mawm.

Al­though a 100 km blue­tongue virus zone was put in place on Oc­to­ber 13, it was lifted in mid-De­cem­ber af­ter 2500 sam­ples from 98 mobs of cat­tle were an­a­lysed.

A Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Wa­ter Re­sources spokesper­son said steps were be­ing taken to re­solve the sit­u­a­tion.

‘‘Aus­tralia con­tin­ues to work closely with all im­port­ing coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, to en­sure im­port­ing coun­try re­quire­ments are met for ev­ery com­mod­ity,’’ a spokesper­son said.

‘‘Ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der way with China for live ex­port of cat­tle lo­cated within the bound­aries of the former blue­tongue ex­clu­sion zone.’’

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