AUSTRALIA’S Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp is travelling to Indonesia this week to meet with senior government officials on a range of cooperation activities related to animal health and biosecurity.
Primary concern among these is the recent emergence of Lumpy Skin Disease in Indonesia, and the potential for its spread to Australia (see Beef Central’s original report here, and columnist Dr Ross Ainsworth’s comments here).
Dr Schipp said Indonesia was currently battling an outbreak of lumpy skin disease on the island of Sumatra, a disease which has been spreading throughout Asia.
“This visit is especially important given the current outbreak,” Dr Schipp said.
“Strengthening our relationship and sharing knowledge is a vital way that we can better protect Australia from exotic pest and disease threats, and help one of our most valued neighbours to respond effectively.
“We already work closely with Indonesia on a range of animal health initiatives to combat global animal diseases of concern across the region.
Dr Schipp will meet with officials from Indonesia’s Directorate General of Livestock and Animal Health Services at the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss animal health and regional interests, and building on the two countries’ bilateral Agriculture Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding recently agreed between Indonesian and Australian governments.
“I’ll be meeting with officials to discuss our cooperation with Indonesia on the lumpy skin disease outbreak in Riau province. The Indonesian government is working hard to address the disease outbreak through vaccination and other containment measures, with close support from Australia,” Dr Schipp said.
Lumpy skin disease is not present in Australia, but the disease is spreading rapidly internationally. Protecting Australia from lumpy skin disease is vital, as an outbreak here would have serious trade impacts across the live animal trade, and for exporters of dairy products, genetic materials, hides and some meat products in addition to animal welfare issues and significant production losses.
More information about lumpy skin disease is available at: awe.gov.au/lumpyskin
Source: Department of Agriculture.