2017-13 - Changes to the bluetongue virus zone and the implications for livestock exports
14 October 2017
- Livestock Exporters
- Australian Government Accredited Veterinarians
- Registered Premises
- Australian Livestock Export Industry (ALEC)
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Officers
The department has been advised that a part of northern Victoria has been designated as a bluetongue virus (BTV) zone for the next 30 days, after evidence of past exposure to the virus was detected in several 12 month old dairy heifers.
Situated near Echuca, the zone, which consists of a Possible Transmission Zone of 50 km and a further Buffer Zone of 50 km, around the property of detection, will remain in place whilst surveillance activities are undertaken. There is no evidence of clinical disease associated with this case.
You can find an updated map of the BTV zone at this link.
A number of importing countries require freedom from BTV as part of their import requirements. Whilst BTV is endemic in northern Australia, Victoria, along with the rest of southern Australia, has previously been classified as being free of BTV. Under the changes, livestock species sourced from the zones will not comply with the import conditions of some countries.
As a result the department has issued a direction that exporters when exporting to Argentina, the People’s Republic of China, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, the Republic of Turkey, or Taiwan must provide written confirmation that property of origin clearances issued by Victoria and NSW prior to Friday 13 October 2017 can be relied upon to demonstrate that livestock have been sourced from a BTV free zone.
Under the Export Control (Animals) Order 2004 the export of livestock requires an export permit to be in force, and where applicable, the grant of a health certificate. In deciding to grant or refuse an application for an export permit and health certificate the relevant departmental officers must consider, amongst other things:
- if the livestock meets the requirements of the importing country; and
- if there is reason to believe that the importing country will not permit the livestock to enter.
To ensure that the department can rapidly assess your application for an export permit and health certificate for any proposed export with animals sourced from Victoria and NSW, the direction requires you to provide a copy of the relevant state property of origin clearance. The department is updating the list of documents that the department requires to be uploaded to TRACE as part of the core documents for a consignment to include this information.
Also, before approving the grant of an export permit for an importing country that has BTV requirements, the department may seek advice from the importing country to determine if the consignment will be accepted.
The department appreciates that this situation is difficult for exporters, particularly those with consignments under preparation, but believe that it is essential to take action to protect the integrity of Australia’s livestock exports. If you have any questions about the direction or the actions you need to take to comply with the direction please Garry Howarth on (02) 6272 4581.
The department is monitoring the situation and once further information is available will consider any necessary changes to the arrangements that have been put in place.
A/g Assistant Secretary
Live Animal Exports Branch
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Contact officer: Garry Howarth
Phone: (02) 6272 4581
Email: Livestock Export