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  • What is animal welfare?
    Throughout the supply chain, we want to make sure livestock are taken care of for the duration of their life. This care is demonstrated through initiatives such as 'cattle comfort' and measuring weight gains during transport and quarantine. Livestock don't generally put on weight if they are stressed or unhappy. Good animal husbandry practices in regards to general care, food, water and shelter are also important to ensure livestock are respected from birth through to processing.
  • How does FMD impact everyone?
    Consumers both nationally and internationally will have reduced availability of safe and hygienic Australian animal products if the disease is to enter our livestock industry. In order to keep everyone safe Australia will implement a nationwide eradication program. This will affect common animal products such as meat, dairy and wool. “Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) modelling projects a widespread FMD outbreak in Australia would have an estimated direct economic impact of around $80 billion” Statistics taken from The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestries. Food safety in the community is of paramount importance in these instances. Biosecurity measures are designed to protect humans and animals.
  • What is FMD?
    Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting livestock, it causes a fever followed by the development of vesicles (blisters) chiefly in the mouth and on the feet. FMD can cause serious health complications for livestock leading to euthanasia. We are currently facing a high risk of the disease being brought into Australia again with no outbreaks reported in over 100 years. FMD has been reported in our neighbouring country of Indonesia. With international travel increasing again the risk of holiday makers bringing the highly contagious disease into Australia is very high. FMD affects cloven-hoofed animals (those with divided hoofs) including: cattle buffalo camels sheep goats deer pigs Sourced from:
  • Why is FMD a concern for Australians?
    Australia is currently a relatively disease free country and nations who buy our products know they can safely buy from Australia and it is safe to consume. If FMD reaches Australian shores it would have serious economic consequences as countries we export to, will ban and restrict imports. For a country like Australia who relies on exports, the impact of losing this disease free status could be devastating. We have successfully kept FMD out of the country for more than 130 years. It is believed minor outbreaks of FMD have occurred in 1801, 1804, 1871 and 1872. Australia maintains a strong biosecurity program to manage disease risks inclusive of FMD and there is extensive planning put in place should it reach our shores to contain and control any potential outbreak.The primary means of eradicating an FMD outbreak is the humane destruction of infected animals. As FMD is currently found in Indonesia and Malaysia, both close to Australia there is reason for concern and vigilance.
  • How is FMD transmitted?
    The concern about FMD is that the viral disease is highly contagious and spreads rapidly between livestock via breath, saliva, mucus, milk and faeces. The virus can also be spread on wool, hair, grass or straw; by the wind; or by mud or manure sticking to footwear, clothing, livestock equipment or vehicle tyres. There is a risk that international travellers who are unaware of the virus could unintentionally bring it into Australia. The disease spreads most commonly through the movement of infected animals however there is potential for transmission to occur through human contact. The virus survives well at temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius, but is inactivated as temperatures rise. It is also rapidly inactivated at relative humidity less than 60 per cent.In some animals (‘carriers’), the virus can continue to be carried for long periods (months or years) after apparent recovery.
  • Why do we export live animals?
    Australia has a long history of exporting livestock to many countries around the world and for many reasons, which have evolved over time. Today, many countries want Australian animals because: Increasingly our efforts to improve animal welfare is recognised as contributing to wider social and ethical change, better treatment of local sheep, improved worker safety and better meat quality. Importing countries have confidence in the health status and quality of Australian sheep, regulatory certification systems, and our ability for meeting the consistent supply of high-quality sheep. Australian live animal supply is an integral part of the importing countries’ food security programs. It supports the development of a local processing sector in developing countries It strengthens breeding and herd numbers with quality genetics (we don’t just export live animals for slaughter)
  • What is low stress stock handling?
    Low stress stock handling is an animal management technique implemented by animal handlers to decrease stress levels and improve welfare and safety. When handling animals through the export process, we try to implement as many low stress stock handling techniques as possible. One of these is the use of ‘Lead Sheep’. Sheep are naturally herd animals therefore will be more confident following an animal that is in front of them. On voyages the animals get comfortable in their pens and sometimes need encouragement to discharge from the vessel. In a paddock setting, a farmer or stockperson will identify the lead sheep in a mob and use it to direct the mob. On a ship we will put a trained lead sheep in front of the mob and direct the mob out of their pens to discharge or shift animals around the ship. Once the first few animals follow the lead sheep, the rest of the mob usually follow and then discharge will continue at the natural pace and flow of the animals. On most voyages, quiet animals are selected and numbered so they have their own identity. There is a designated lead sheep trainer selected who will oversee caring for them throughout the trip. They get harnesses or halters that allows them to be tethered with food and water and walked by the lead sheep trainer daily. Throughout discharge the lead sheep have designated shifts to ensure they get a break and will have their own pen to rest between shifts with food and water.
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