Thursday, May 2, 2013

 

New Zealand, Australia work together to prevent livestock disease outbreak

WELLINGTON, -- New Zealand and Australia announced Friday that they would coordinate their biosecurity defenses and policies to deal with foot and mouth disease (FMC), which could devastate their agriculture-based economies if it infected livestock.
The agriculture ministers of both countries released details of a joint plan to fight disease, which included sharing intelligence on emerging animal health risks facing the region and developing and improving training and FMD detection capabilities, including training in exotic animal disease recognition and joint exercises.

Officials in both countries would also collaborate on policy development, approaches and operational plans for vaccination and carcass disposal and participating in simulation exercises to explore response efforts in the event of an incursion.

New Zealand Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said both countries were extremely aware of the importance of preparing for the threat, given the importance of the agricultural sector to both economies.

"This work will build on the strong relationship we already have through years of working together on animal health and biosecurity issues," Guy said in a joint statement with Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig.

"Prevention remains the first priority for both countries through our world class biosecurity systems. New Zealand is fortunate to have never had an outbreak but we must always be prepared," said Guy.

Ludwig said FMD posed one of the single greatest threats to livestock industries and rural communities in New Zealand and Australia, and the Australian government had estimated that a large outbreak would cost Australia 16 billion AU dollars (16.43 billion U.S. dollars) to control.

"Australia has successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years," Ludwig said in the statement.

"FMD has been able to establish and spread in a wide range of environmental and production systems around the world so vigilance and preparedness are essential safeguards to protecting Australia and New Zealand's valuable primary industries."

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