Mock re­sponse at lo­cal sa­le­yards

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

What would we have to do if a na­tional live­stock stand­still was de­clared?

That was the ques­tion con­fronting govern­ment per­son­nel, sa­le­yard man­agers, lo­cal govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives and NSW Po­lice mem­bers at an emer­gency ex­er­cise in Fin­ley on June 29.

More than 40 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in Ex­er­cise Loch Fyne, which fo­cused on the sce­nario of a na­tional live­stock stand­still and its im­pli­ca­tions if de­clared dur­ing a sale at Fin­ley Sa­le­yards.

Such a sit­u­a­tion would oc­cur if an emer­gency an­i­mal dis­ease (EAD) such as foot-and-mouth dis­ease (FMD) was dis­cov­ered any­where across the coun­try.

Dis­trict vet­eri­nar­ian Mark Cor­ri­gan, who was part of the or­gan­is­ing team, said the sce­nario was de­signed to force par­tic­i­pants to think about the ac­tions re­quired to re­strict live­stock and ve­hi­cle move­ment to and from the sa­le­yards to pre­vent any pos­si­ble spread of dis­ease.

‘‘This is a com­plex sit­u­a­tion that re­quires a lot of fore­thought and plan­ning, so it’s im­por­tant that we raise aware­ness of these types of sce­nar­ios to en­sure peo­ple know what their roles and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are if this sit­u­a­tion arises,’’ he said.

‘‘Be­ing pre­pared for an emer­gency an­i­mal dis­ease such as FMD is vi­tally im­por­tant to re­duce the po­ten­tial im­pacts on the ru­ral econ­omy and our ex­port mar­kets.’’

The ex­er­cise was at­tended by the NSW chief vet­eri­nary of­fi­cer Chris­tine Mid­dle­miss, who trav­elled from Orange.

She said her role was to bring the state and na­tional per­spec­tive to the ex­er­cise.

‘‘If we had a na­tional stand­still, I would sit on a group with the other chief vets, and we’d be ad­vis­ing min­is­ters of what ac­tions need to be taken, so it’s re­ally good to be able to play that per­spec­tive into the ex­er­cise,’’ she said.

‘‘What has re­ally ex­cited me is that ev­ery­body’s taken own­er­ship of the prob­lem and tried to work out how they would ad­dress it and what they would do work­ing as a team.’’

The sec­ond part of the sce­nario in­volved the fic­ti­tious dec­la­ra­tion of an in­fected premises at the sa­le­yards, which fur­ther tested the par­tic­i­pants’ abil­i­ties to solve prob­lems un­der pres­sure.

NSW chief vet­eri­nary of­fi­cer Chris­tine Mid­dle­miss and dis­trict vet­eri­nar­ian Mark Cor­ri­gan dur­ing the ex­er­cise at Fin­ley.

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