Foot and mouth disease, the most feared disease in the agricultural world, has the potential to cripple an entire livestock industry.
Such is the disease’s impact that it can result in the killing of millions of livestock, as was the case in the United Kingdom during its 2001 outbreak.
The threat of the disease arriving in Australia is the greatest it has ever been, with foot and mouth detected in Bali last month.
The Indonesian holiday spot is a popular overseas destination for Australians, heightening the risk of bringing the disease back to Australia.
Parliamentarians across the North West are united in calling for swift action to reduce the risk of an Australian outbreak.
And rightly so. Estimates put a potential Australian outbreak at an enormous cost to the economy – some $80 billion.
The disease would be as equally as crippling for our North West farmers who have enjoyed recent favourable seasons following the devastating drought.
Continuing cost issues are problem enough for farmers, let alone the potential financial heartbreak they would suffer if foot and mouth arrived.
The federal government to date has announced measures, including financial support for Indonesia to manage the disease, as well as biosecurity officers at airports.
The federal government says it has also ramped up messaging to incoming passengers.
Suggestions regarding the use of disinfectants and the sanitisation of footwear, or even the destruction of footwear of incoming passengers, so far have fallen on deaf ears.
Concerns voiced by some parliamentarians have also drawn silence from the government, sparking concern about possible inaction and lack of preparation for the looming threat of the disease.
Similar to Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the early days of the virus, the nation has one opportunity to eliminate the threat of foot and mouth arriving in Australia.
The livestock industry and related businesses need every protection possible from this devastating disease. The longer Australia goes without having adequate protection measures in place, the greater the risk of foot and mouth arriving.To order photos from this page click here