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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2013
12 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2013 Introduction In 2012 some 2.2 million sheep were exported live worth about $280 million. This trade depends on shared confidence between Australia and its trading partners that any risk to the animal health status of the importing country can be accurately assessed and properly managed. Australia's disease status can only be assured if we continue to apply vigorous preventive measures complemented by an ongoing surveillance program meeting international standards. SCA oversees the investment of levy funds into a number of programs which provide scientific information for the development of export protocols and to meet export certificate requirements, and to prepare us for an event / incursion. We are currently engaged, on behalf of producers, in a number of programs that are helping to safeguard the health of sheep in Australia and protect the status of our export industries. A number of these disease and biosecurity threats are outlined below. Screw Worm Fly Freedom Assurance Program Screw worm fly is an insect parasite of warm-blooded animals, including people and birds. Its eggs hatch to become flesh eating maggots or larvae that invade all types of wounds or moist openings on animals and people. In severe cases, it can even cause death. The screw worm fly (SWF) is endemic in a number of our closest northern neighbours Australia’s sheepmeat industry relies heavily on our favourable disease status, which secures our place in international markets. Our industry now exports to over seventy countries with about 50% of lamb and 97% of mutton leaving the country. and is found in the coastal swamps of Papua New Guinea adjacent to the Torres Strait and throughout much of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The climate in most of northern Australia permits reproduction of this pest throughout the year. It is estimated that it could cost close to $500 million a year in lost production and control measures if it entered Australia. Animal Health Australia (AHA) currently manages an ongoing Screw Worm Fly Freedom Assurance Program on behalf of industry and government stakeholders. The program is designed to increase early detection by trapping flies at seaports and sample collection from wildlife and animals. Scrapie in sheep, BSE in cattle Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE's) in animals are a class of rare brain diseases that affect the central nervous system. These diseases are very rare and fatal. There are no live animal tests, no treatments and no vaccines for these diseases. There are a number of TSE's which affect animals. Of most interest to Australia's livestock industries are: • Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) which affects cattle and is commonly referred to as "mad cow disease". BSE has never been recorded in Australia. • Scrapie is a TSE that affects sheep and goats. Scrapie has been known in the United Kingdom and Germany since the eighteenth century, and is now present in many sheep-raising countries. Scrapie has occurred once in Australia, on a single property in Victoria in 1952 and was promptly eradicated. • Creutzfeld -- Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare and fatal form of TSE that affects humans worldwide. The Australian Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Freedom Assurance Program (TSEFAP) includes import controls over live animals, reproductive material and stock feeds, a ruminant feed ban that dates from 1997, measures for quarantine of cattle and zoo animals imported from countries that have recorded indigenous cases of BSE, and surveillance of diseases of the nervous system of cattle and sheep. Foot and Mouth Disease Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is by far the most significant biosecurity threat to Australia's sheepmeat and other livestock industries. An outbreak in Australia could have devastating consequences to our community in lost production, trade and tourism. It would also have immense social consequences resulting from movement restrictions and response activities, required during an outbreak. A diagnosis of FMD or even a strong suspicion of FMD anywhere in the country would result in a national livestock 'standstill', which means total movement controls on all species of animal susceptible to FMD for at least 72 hours and likely much longer periods, extending into months. A small FMD outbreak in Australia, controlled in 3 months, could cost around $AUD 7.1 billion, while a large 12 month outbreak could cost $AUD 16 billion.