Article by: Hari Yellina
Travelers to one of our favourite sites are being cautioned not to bring an expensive carry-on back with them as Australians depart for abroad for the school holidays. This week, there have been reports of foot and mouth disease in Bali. Cloven-hoofed animals, such as cattle, pigs, and sheep, might die from the livestock virus. It might harm Australia's agricultural sector upwards of $80 billion if it were discovered there. According to Victoria's Agriculture Department, "Most countries would ban our cattle and livestock products as soon as foot and mouth disease is identified."
Until Australia could demonstrate that the disease had been eradicated, it is doubtful that these limitations would be eased. This week, foot and mouth illness was discovered in Bali after being discovered previously in Indonesia. The federal government is increasing its communications to travellers as a result. Increased information is being delivered to passengers, reminding them to wash their hands and remove their shoes before boarding the aircraft. Once they arrive in Australia, biosecurity measures will also be strengthened.
Murray Watt, the federal minister of agriculture, claimed that numerous initiatives were being carried out. The Darwin and Cairns airports' use of biosecurity detector dogs, the expansion of social media campaigns, the inclusion of signage and flyers at busy airports, the additional training of airport biosecurity workers, and improved profiling and inspections are just a few examples. He claimed that in some cases, biosecurity personnel may board arriving planes from Indonesia to reduce the possibility that foot and mouth illness will even leave the plane.
The government already had additional protections in place when the Indonesian outbreak first started, Watt said, and these new ones "built on" those. These already-in-place strengthened measures "include new targeted operations at major airports servicing travel from Indonesia to check a wider range of passengers who may be carrying or contaminated with FMD or be assessed all passengers on flights from Indonesia, with high-risk passengers identified for intervention." The National Farmers Federation, Australia's leading agricultural organisation, praised the new biosecurity regulations.
According to NFF President Fiona Simson, "Our business has been on edge ever since FMD was identified in Bali given the increased levels of transit between our countries." "We are relieved to see the government responding to industry recommendations to step up biosecurity through detector dogs, more traveller communications, and increased biosecurity personnel training," the statement reads. How therefore might the foot-and-mouth disease enter the border? The disease is most frequently spread by contaminated meat and dairy products, which are then fed to animals, claims Agriculture Victoria. Additionally, it might be spread by infected tools or clothing, including leather and other animal goods. "Biosecurity is a shared duty, and it is essential that every traveller arriving in Australia from FMD-affected regions complies with the biosecurity guidelines we have in place at the border," Watt said. According to the government, there is very little risk to humans and the condition should not be mistaken with hand, foot, and mouth disease.