Article by: Hari Yellina
The first foot-and-mouth disease training in Western Australia attracted more than 170 farmers, with three times as many watching online to learn what was being done in the wake of Indonesia’s incursion. Leading biosecurity and veterinary experts from the state discussed at length on the best ways to safeguard farms from the disease and what would happen if it were found in Australia. The event, which had been sold out more than a week in advance, was organised with aid from Mount Barker farmer Lyn Slade. As farmers travelled from hundreds of kilometres away, she claimed that the gathering could have doubled in a larger setting.
A great deal of attention was shown, she stated. She claimed that some visitors had flown from Perth up to 400 kilometres to her hometown. It was made plain by speakers that any discovery would probably lead to a statewide prohibition on livestock movement and the culling of animals around the affected property. Alan Wise, a farmer in the Porongurups, remarked, “There’s a lot to take in. There is clearly an emotional component to it, and I believe they have covered the majority of the bases. Max Farley, a farmer in Narrikup, found the material interesting but believed that the state and federal governments were not taking the issue of biosecurity at Australia’s border seriously enough. Farmers came from far distances, necessitating a bigger venue.
He remarked, “The thing that worries me more is that they’re looking at an outbreak, not so much at stopping one. According to Mount Barker farmer Marie O’Dea, the gathering was noticeably devoid of lifestyle farmers and pet owners. “There are smallholders with sheep, goats, and pigs in an area like Mount Barker or Albany,” she remarked. They “may not be aware that it’s not a good idea to feed pigs swill, or they might be afraid to report (foot-and-mouth problems)” Bruce Mullan, the foot-and-mouth disease preparedness coordinator for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, claimed that people from all sectors of the community, not just farmers, were interested in attending additional events. He recommended that cattle owners develop their own foot-and-mouth disease programmes.
The majority of farmers do have biosecurity policies, but some don’t, according to Mr. Mullan. The event’s speakers provided farmers with a number of recommendations, including registering guests, separating entering automobiles, and employing toxic footbaths. However, they refrained from outlining specific requirements for animal properties or imposing sanctions for noncompliance. Like a football squad, Mr. Mullan compared it. “You’re going to win if everyone is playing their own game. However, if there is a weak link, you must hope that the other 17 players can compensate for that individual. He claimed that although dates had not yet been decided, the department was planning future informational events.