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FMD Forces Victoria to Create an Animal Disease Task Force

FMD Forces Victoria to Create an Animal Disease Task Force

2022-08-01

Article by: Hari Yellina

To prepare for an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which is already spreading over parts of Indonesia, the Victorian government will set up an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) task force. Graeme Cooke, Victoria’s top veterinarian, would provide guidance to the task force’s co-chairmen, Agriculture Victoria CEO Matt Lowe and Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp. Since the disease was found in Bali, Indonesia, a month ago, the Australian government has increased biosecurity procedures to stop foot-and-mouth and lumpy skin disease from entering the nation. According to experts, if the exotic animal diseases reached Australia, they might cause billion-dollar economic losses.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Gayle Tierney stated, “We want to get a focus and targeted government response to a broad range of things we need to put in place in terms of being prepared and to prevent an epidemic. The task group will examine difficulties with the supply chain related to testing, tracing, destruction, disposal, and vaccination, as well as issues with access to enough personal protective equipment. According to Ms. Tierney, “a lot of effort has already been going” to coordinate with the national strategy for service and infrastructure continuity in order to assist reduce any EAD concerns.

People want to know more, and we’ve been able to provide extremely useful guidance through webinars, she said. “It’s evident that there is fear among the farming community,” she said. “This is a terrific time to have those grassroots discussions that give farmers the chance to transform their anxiety into very beneficial practical solutions. “We have a very clear awareness of the risks and what needs to be done to step up preparations to make sure our preparedness is as good as it can be.” In order to be ready for a possible FMD outbreak in the state, Agriculture Victoria was training 300 biosecurity employees in scenario preparation and emergency drills.

Despite Indonesia having FMD for months, Ms. Tierney claimed that the taskforce was a “quick response.” This is a response from the entire government, not only Agriculture Victoria, she said, adding that it was a swift start for the task committee. Despite the fact that a lot of work has been done throughout, Victoria’s biosecurity safeguards are among the best in the world. Business has been conducted as usual, but with this additional modification that is necessary because Bali is home to FMD. Ms. Tierney claimed that Agriculture Victoria had the knowledge and tools necessary to deal with biosecurity issues. There are so many biosecurity dangers constantly present, she added. “They did it lately in terms of the avian flu and Japanese encephalitis. “I believe they have a history of performing rather well, and they deserve praise for the manner they have stepped up FMD readiness.”