Aussie state calls for tag system to safeguard livestock from foot-and-mouth disease

by IANS |

Sydney, July 20 (IANS) Authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) are calling for stricter and more extensive biosecurity measures to protect its livestock industry from the imminent threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

NSW minister for agriculture Dugald Saunders said he would propose the urgent development of mandatory electronic identification tags for sheep and goats during a meeting with all Australian agriculture ministers on Wednesday afternoon.

FMD, which attacks cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, pigs, goats and sheep, is now in the neighbouring nation of Indonesia, raising the likelihood of the infectious virus entering Australia for the first time in more than 130 years, Xinhua news agency reported.

Saunders estimated an outbreak of the crippling disease could potentially cost the national economy 80 billion Australian dollars (about 55.2 billion US dollars) and "send shockwaves through regional communities for years to come."

"Individual traceability for sheep and goats will be crucial during an emergency disease outbreak and deliver benefits across the supply chain," he said.

All Australian cattle already have ear tags, but millions of sheep and goats do not, which means that a quickly spreading outbreak among those animals would be harder to trace.

Saunders warned that a national tagging system for sheep and goats would take time to implement, so it is important to start the conversation.

NSW has the nation's largest number of sheep with more than 21 million, while Victoria has 17 million and Western Australia (WA) has 14 million, according to a report on Tuesday from the national broadcaster ABC.

Describing the tagging proposal, Saunders said the NSW government would work with farmers and livestock industry representatives to develop a practical system that works for them.

The scheme has already been endorsed by Australian Meat Industry Council chief executive Patrick Hutchinson who said the agricultural industry needed to support such a national program to prevent the spread of exotic livestock diseases.

"To make sure the entire country is prepared for an outbreak like FMD, we need to act now to start the process of developing a national electronic identification system for sheep and goats," Hutchinson said

Latest News
Live band performance at Dal Lake to commemorate Independence Day Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 05:03 PM
K'taka BJP urges Cong MLA to apologise to women for 'job over bed' remark Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 05:02 PM
The poet who first called for complete independence, coined 'Inquilab Zindabad' Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:50 PM
Goa Forward demands probe into tur dal wastage issue Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:47 PM
Delhi reports 5th monkeypox case Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:45 PM
Gujarat youth Congress slams Centre over inflation, unemployment Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:43 PM
On his way to celebrate Rakhi, Delhi man's throat slit with Chinese manjha Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:40 PM
TN to commence production of Pongal sarees, dhotis soon Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:37 PM
CBI arrests Revenue Department official in bribe case Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:35 PM
Cong Presidential poll process set to begin this month, no clarity on Rahul's role Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 04:27 PM
Taliban disperses women's rally in Kabul with warning shots, violence Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 03:51 PM
California chemical leak forces evacuation, freeway closure Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 03:48 PM
Shah Faesal appointed Deputy Secretary in Tourism Ministry Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 03:41 PM
Zelensky proposes extending martial law, general mobilisation Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 03:37 PM
Honey trap case: Upcoming Kannada actor arrested, case against 2 young woman in Karnataka Sat, Aug 13, 2022, 03:19 PM