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Increasing biosecurity through Foot and Mouth Disease skills

9 Aug 2019

Increasing biosecurity through Foot and Mouth Disease skills


Column by Daniel Guest, Sheep Producers Australia-sponsored applicant for biosecurity and FMD training


The European Commission for the Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (EuFMD) FMD training program in Nepal was a thoroughly enlightening and educational experience in grasping the enormous threat that FMD is to the Australian sheep industry. It highlighted the difference between a theoretical understanding of the FMD risk and the devastating reality of a real-time outbreak.

The EuFMD course was based in Kathmandu, Nepal over five days in early March 2019, and was led by UN experts in real-time FMD outbreaks. There was a mix of trainees from Australia and Nepal attending the course.

The practical experience of the program was incredibly impactful. In small groups the team investigated a real-time FMD outbreak. This training brought all of our theoretical study into play during a live FMD outbreak. It was this hands-on investigation that shaped my understanding of the difficulty in diagnosing the disease but also the severe impact it has on the health and wellbeing of the infected livestock.

Australia is fortunate to be an island nation in respects to biosecurity threats, however with the increase in the international travel of people and livestock, we must continually invest and enforce strict quarantine rules to prevent biosecurity risks from exotic diseases broaching the Australian shores. We all have a responsibility to be actively on the lookout for anything unusual and if in doubt notify the emergency disease hotline (1800 675 888) or the local private/government veterinarian.

I would like acknowledge and thank Sheep Producers Australia for sponsoring my attendance at the program. I now consider myself an active national quarantine and biosecurity advocate and will be working towards sharing my key learns and experience with the Australian sheep and wider livestock industry.

Applications are open – find out more

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