August 19, 2011


Malaysia resumes Australian cattle imports



Malaysia has removed a ban on Australian imports of live cattle and other livestock that was imposed in the event of a virus scare, a top veterinary official said Thursday (Aug 18).


"Since yesterday, we have opened up the import of cattle, sheep and goats," Ibrahim Che Embong, stated deputy director-general of Malaysia's veterinary services department.


The bans were imposed July 8 following the outbreak of Hendra, a bat-borne virus that can be fatal in humans.


No humans have yet been reported infected in the current outbreak, which has affected farms in New South Wales and Queensland.


But the virus has killed four of the seven people who have contracted it since it was first identified in Australia in 1994.


Ibrahim said the lifting of the ban on cattle and other livestock was undertaken to prevent shortages during the upcoming Eid ul-Fitr festival at the end of this month.


Malaysia's majority Muslim population celebrates the festival annually with large banquets at which copious amounts of meat are served.


He added that those imports would be subject to "strict conditions" but declined to provide details.


Concerns over Hendra spiked after Australian authorities said last month the virus was found in a dog for the first time, prompting fears it had jumped species.

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