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    Paul Christopher.

AgLife: Industry on alert

Wimmera agriculture leaders are on alert as the industry monitors a foot-and-mouth outbreak in Indonesia. 

Horsham Regional Livestock Exchange manager Paul Christopher said it would be ‘devastating’ to the agriculture industry in the Wimmera and beyond if FMD reached Australian livestock.

“The Federal Government would call a stock standstill – nothing would be able to move for three days and if it wasn’t contained, it is horrible to think about,” he said.

The CSIRO predicted a ‘small, contained’ outbreak in Victoria would see the state economy take a $5-billion to $6-billion hit.

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Foot-and-mouth disease, FMD, is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals. It spreads rapidly among animals and is excreted in breath, saliva, mucus, milk and faeces. Animals can become infected through inhalation, ingestion and direct contact and the disease spreads most commonly through the movement of infected animals.

FMD can also be spread on wool, hair, grass or straw, by the wind, or by mud or manure sticking to footwear, clothing, livestock equipment or vehicle tyres.

Mr Christopher said there was a fine line of being careful with current markets and ensuring farmers were protected.

“The main warning is for people travelling overseas, because FMD is in plenty of countries, including Indonesia. So be mindful of clothing and shoes,” he said. 

“Also, out of courtesy, anyone who has travelled to a country with FMD should stay away from any farms with animals for seven days.”

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry reported that an FMD outbreak in Australia would have a direct economic impact of about $80-billion.

The entire July 27, 2022 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire July 27, 2022 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!