Victorian farmers are encouraging international travellers to enact simple preventative measures to help keep the potentially devastating Foot and Mouth (FMD) livestock disease out of Australia.
Victorian Farmers Federation President Emma Germano said that news of the disease reaching the popular holiday island of Bali in neighbouring Indonesia is very concerning for farmers.
“The risk of tourists unknowingly bringing home Foot and Mouth is very real. We’ve kept it out of Australia for over 100 years and we need to do all we can to keep it that way.”
“The reality is that if FMD enters Australia, our cows, sheep, pigs and any cloven-hoofed animal will be at serious risk from this highly contagious disease,” Ms Germano said.
Ms Germano added travellers can help stop its spread by implementing these three simple measures when holidaying or returning from Indonesia:
- Have your clothes packed and cleaned at your local laundromat whilst on holiday (Why? This ensures any clothes are free from dirt and/or potential contaminants and packed away before returning)
- Make sure your shoes (sole tread, sides and upper) have been thoroughly cleaned and are free from soil or other possible contaminants (Why? This eliminates any possible residues and reduces possible contamination)
- Avoid encounters with cows, pigs, sheep and general livestock. Avoid patting, getting up close to or being in proximity of these animals while on holiday. (Why? This limits your exposure with livestock)
Ms Germano said that a combination of traveller preventative measures and an increased Commonwealth Government biosecurity safety net is our best chance to stop the spread in its tracks.
“With flights between Victoria and Bali departing a number of times each day, we can’t afford for a disease superhighway to open up between Denpasar and Victoria.”
“We need to act and it must be now,” Ms Germano said.