Biosecurity Advice 2017-05 - Importation of captive non-human primates – Review of import conditions

21 March 2017

This Biosecurity Advice informs stakeholders that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has finalised a biosecurity risk review for the importation of captive non-human primates. Importation of captive non-human primates will be permitted subject to biosecurity legislation, and the application of sanitary measures as specified in the Importation of captive non-human primates – review of import conditions. The biosecurity risk review will be taken into account by decision makers when considering import permit applications for captive non-human primates from approved countries effective from 20 April 2017.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has completed a review of the biosecurity risks of importation of captive non-human primates following stakeholder consultation on a draft report released on 30 May 2016 (BA 2016/17). The final review is available on the department’s website.

The department received 69 comments from the Australian zoo community, collated by the Zoo and Aquarium Association. A number of comments suggested additional information to be considered or clarified in the technical aspects of the disease risk reviews. Several of the comments addressed the proposed operational conditions and others were of an editorial nature.

The technical comments received focused on tuberculosis, including testing requirements and the use of country freedom as a condition to reduce the number of Pre-Arrival Quarantine (PAQ) tests. The comments received were considered by the department and, where seen as appropriate to ensure that Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection (ALOP) from this disease is achieved in the least trade-restrictive and intrusive manner for the animals involved, reflected in the final policy for release.

A number of comments on the tuberculosis risk review concerned alternative testing conditions for certain species of non-human primates. Examples include reduced tuberculin doses for small primate species, and the inclusion of alternative testing conditions for orangutans because this species is recognised as commonly producing false positive results to the proposed tests. Given the number of species considered in the policy review and the multitude of testing options already provided, the department decided not to include additional testing options. However, stakeholders can apply to the department for recognition of equivalence if they are seeking to utilise tests that are different to those in the policy.

Comment was also received about the practicality of requiring veterinary facilities to be located within a PAQ facility. After discussion, the requirement was amended to allow for veterinary facilities to be located within the larger institution (typically a zoo), although biosecurity must be maintained if an importer chooses this amended requirement, and the department must be still be notified of movement to and from the PAQ.

Comment was received about the requirement for cleaning and disinfecting vehicles in Post-Entry Quarantine (PEQ), especially if a small non-human primate is being transported in a secure crate in a section of the vehicle. After discussion the department has retained the relevant condition in its proposed form as cleaning the vehicle before it leaves PEQ manages biosecurity risk in an immediate and auditable manner within the biosecurity chain. It is not acceptable to transport an animal, whose biosecurity status is not yet assured, to PEQ and then drive the carrier vehicle around and park it elsewhere (‘before using it for another purpose’) without cleaning or disinfecting it. The PEQ area should be planned with this requirement in mind.

The technical background information provided in the risk reviews has been adjusted and updated in response to stakeholder comments. Examples are the augmentation of the rabies vaccination section with modern vaccination types, and a more nuanced discussion of the types of hepatitis B viruses that may affect non-human primates. Minor editorial changes have been made in response to other stakeholders’ comments.

Following completion of this biosecurity risk review, imports of captive non-human primates from approved countries can commence under revised conditions effective from 20 April 2017.


Andrew Cupit
Assistant Secretary
Animal Biosecurity

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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