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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
AUSSIES UNDERTAKE FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE TRAINING IN NEPAL To help ensure that Australia’s livestock industry stays free of the highly contagious and potentially devastating foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), industry representatives and veterinarians from Australia attend FMD identification and response training programs in Nepal. An ongoing foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) training program attended by Australian and Nepalese veterinarians and industry representatives was held in Nepal, a country in which the disease is endemic and causes substantial economic losses. The program, developed and delivered by the European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (EuFMD), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with support from the Australian Government, aims to improve Australia’s early detection and response capacity for an outbreak of FMD whilst assisting with disease management in Nepal. The training enables participants to see first- hand how FMD symptoms develop in affected livestock and gives them the experience of tracking infections and responding to the disease. Participants meet with local Nepalese farmers to learn about the disease and share practical on-farm knowledge about FMD management and treatment and to discuss biosecurity practices. The Federal Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, in an agreement with the EuFMD, has provided the opportunities for key people to take part in the courses since 2012. To date, nearly 200 Australians have been trained. Industry groups, such as WoolProducers Australia and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, contribute to ongoing funding for industry participants to attend alongside their government veterinarian colleagues. Fifth generation woolgrower Heidi Reid from ‘Yarrabin’ at Berridale on the Monaro attended one of the courses in December, funded by the Sheepmeat Council of Australia for which she used to work as a Policy Advisor in the areas of animal health and welfare. Heidi said Australia is being proactive in training up a diverse range of professionals to identify and respond effectively and immediately to the disease if it was ever found in Australia. “The course is building up a greater awareness of emergency animal disease management in Australia. There was a real mix of people on my course, including regional government vets, producers, agents, sale yard managers and rural retailers. “We worked closely with Nepalese veterinarians and farmers to gain experience in identifying the disease and management should an outbreak occur. We had two hands- on field trips; the first was to an area in which there had been a fresh outbreak of the disease where we had to suit up in biosecurity gear and provide an assessment of the property’s situation; the second trip was to a property where there had been an outbreak six months previously, where we reviewed the impacts and handling of the outbreak. “Coupled with lectures on current technical considerations, our group then provided recommendations back to the Australian and Nepalese Governments and Australian industry groups.” Heidi says the course consolidated her understanding of the devastating impact that FMD would have on our industry and livelihoods. “Australian producers deservedly have a reputation of producing world’s best products that are clean and green, which allows us ongoing access into markets around the world. However, to safeguard this access, it’s important that we continue to practice strong biosecurity. “This may be as formal as meeting our requirements through the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), such as filling out the National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) correctly, through to discussions with our next door neighbours, local farming groups and DPI vets about disease identification and management and issues such as swill feeding of pigs. “There is also a significant need for this information to flow to the hobby farmer that may live just down the road or households in urban areas such as Sydney that may have a couple of pigs. We can only ensure success around biosecurity and ongoing market access as a broader community.” Heidi was especially conscious of quarantine procedures to prevent her from bringing the disease to Australia after her training had completed. “I chose to leave behind everything I had taken to Nepal which I used at on-site visits and spent a further two weeks away from infected areas before coming home to ensure I did not bring FMD back into Australia and back to our farm. I also had reassuringly thorough questioning from the customs and quarantine personnel when I landed back in Australia.” An outbreak of FMD in Australia would have a devastating impact on our livestock industries. One of the most important aspects of addressing an outbreak is early reporting. If you suspect FMD in any way, phone the EAD Hotline (1800 675 888) or your local vet immediately. Foot and mouth disease training in Nepal in December. 40 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2017