July 6, 2022


Farmers in Australia to get compensation if FMD hits animals



Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer, Mark Schipp, said Australian farmers will be compensated if their animals get foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) after an outbreak was confirmed in Bali at the weekend.


"This is something that we've been practising and rehearsing for more than 30 years now and as part of that, there are compensation arrangements in place for livestock producers who suffer the disease," he said. "Particularly, if they report the disease or their suspicions early and have got good biosecurity arrangements in place."


Dr.Schipp made the comments in an interview on ABC Radio Canberra  after being asked if producers should take out livestock insurance against the disease.


He said producers could find more information about compensation eligibility criteria by contacting their local peak livestock industry body.


"Each of the peak livestock industry bodies is a member of Animal Health Australia and Animal Health Australia is the custodian of that deed of arrangement," he said.


Livestock infected with FMD develop blisters around their noses, mouths and on their hooves.


The detection of the disease in Australia would result in an immediate halt to livestock exports and Australian authorities would be faced with either trying to slaughter or vaccinate it out.


Dr. Schipp said an outbreak could cost the nation $80 billion over several years. "Both in response costs and in costs of lost and trying to regain trade," he added.


Australia is not currently vaccinating animals against FMD as under existing trade rules, vaccinated animals would be viewed as having the disease in many markets, meaning they could not be exported.


West Australian Farmers Federation livestock president Geoff Pearson said the industry was pushing for the federal government to change those rules.


"There's other countries that can trade with the disease, Indonesia for example and Malaysia and India … that do trade in and out of their country with the disease, whereas our protocols don't allow us to do that," he said.


Dr. Schipp said it was possible Australia would change its rules on vaccination but that could take months or years.


"We're looking at alternative vaccines to the currently available vaccines," he commented. "It would be good to have a vaccine that is safe and clearly distinguishable from an infection with any disease."


He said that would require "quite a change" in mindset in terms of international trade as there was a high degree of suspicion if a country started vaccinating against a disease but claimed the disease was not in their country.


- ABC News

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