Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, said the guide would help prepare and inform vets about exotic diseases affecting livestock.
Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, said the guide would help prepare and inform vets about exotic diseases affecting livestock. Madeline Grace

New guide arms vets with latest biosecurity information

THE Flynn electorate will be better prepared to manage significant animal biosecurity threats, such as African swine fever thanks to a new comprehensive online field guide of emergency animal diseases for vets.

Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, said the guide would help prepare and inform the region's vets about exotic diseases affecting livestock.

"As an agricultural community we need to make sure we are prepared should the worst happen and we need to handle an exotic disease that threatens the health of our livestock,” Mr O'Dowd said.

"The guide is about protecting the health of our local livestock, the livelihoods of our community, and the Australian agricultural sector as a whole.

"The guide will help our vets identify emergency animal diseases in the field, ensure they consider exotic diseases when conducting diagnosis and take appropriate action should they suspect signs of a biosecurity threat.”

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said the guide would help identify some of the most dangerous diseases threatening the Australian agricultural sector.

"ASF and foot and mouth disease could wipe out industries, jobs, impact on trade and the availability of the Australian produce we all enjoy, so we need to be as prepared as possible because the threat is real,” Ms McKenzie said.

"Early identification and reporting is critical to minimise the devastating impact that these diseases can pose for our animals, industries, jobs and environment.

"Australia's vets are vital to our continued strong biosecurity system. If the unthinkable happened and a significant animal disease was to hit our shores, our vets would play a key role in managing and minimising the risks, so we need to make sure they are prepared.”

The disease list included in the guide will be reviewed and updated to address emerging threats.

"We have some of the best vets in the world and this gives them another tool to improve the work they do in protecting Australia from deadly animal diseases,” Ms McKenzie said.

The guide is a new addition to a range of measures already in place to better manage animal biosecurity threats.

This includes increased intervention measures at our borders, testing of intercepted meat produce for ASF and FMD, as well as stronger enforcement approaches for biosecurity breaches relating to meat products.

The field guide was produced by the Department of Agriculture and Australia's Animal Health Laboratory. The 270-page resource is available online here.