Farmers who own cattle, pigs, sheep, buffalo, deer, camels, alpacas, llamas or goats need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and how to be prepared.
FMD has been found in Indonesia, including at the popular tourist destination Bali. This is the closest the disease has been to Australia in over 100 years. If FMD established here, it could have severe consequences for animal health and the trade of Australian meat and livestock overseas.
The Australian Government is working with Indonesia to control FMD and keep it out of Australia. Biosecurity measures are in place, including reviewing import permits, heightened awareness at borders and increased vigilance around traveller flights arriving from Indonesia to protect against an outbreak.
Livestock farmers should know how to recognise and report the highly contagious disease, and other ways to protect their livestock and properties.
Farmers should prepare now by adopting good on-farm biosecurity practices. This includes keeping accurate records of visitors and livestock movements, and not allowing people who have visited FMD infected areas within the last 7 days to visit farms, or handle or feed livestock. Farmers can also limit entry points and use clear signage to direct visitors to designated areas.
Farmers should ensure all footwear, clothing and equipment of anyone visiting or working on their property is free of mud, animal manure and mucus. Everyone on farm should disinfect their hands and shoes before and after handling animals.
New stock should be inspected to ensure they’re healthy, and kept isolated from other animals for 21 days while being monitored for signs of disease. Cattle and pigs should also never be fed illegal animal products.
Farmers can access free farm biosecurity advice and resources at farmbiosecurity.com.au
It is important to know the symptoms, and to report animals that show signs of FMD. Livestock owners should keep an eye out for:
- drooling and excessive salivation
- reluctance to move
- blisters on the mouth, snout, tongue, lips or between and above the hooves. Blisters may be intact or rupture – exposing raw tissue and causing pain.
These symptoms must be reported immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, or a local veterinarian.
If FMD arrives here, Australia will be prepared with vaccines and other measures – but farmers can help by being biosecurity smart and staying vigilant for the signs of the disease. Biosecurity is everyone’s business.
To learn more about FMD and how we are working to keep Australia protected, visit agriculture.gov.au/footandmouthdisease.
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