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Australian Cattle Council : Yearbook 2010
12 YEARBOOK 2010 CATTLE COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA This frightening reality and the recent outbreaks in Japan, Korea and China deliver a timely wakeup call for Australian livestock industries. FMD remains the biggest biosecurity threat to our industry. The economic cost of an FMD outbreak has been estimated at between $6 billion and $13 billion in the first year; consequences would be felt for a decade after the event. Australia has been free of FMD since 1872; let's all work together to keep out this devastating disease. The Australian beef industry relies on market access for its survival. Two thirds of our production is exported to more than 110 markets worldwide. Given Australia's relatively small human population, any significant retraction of access to our export markets would unleash untold damage to the beef industry. In the case of FMD, the effect of market loss coupled with the cost of controlling and eradicating the disease would have a significant Executive Director's report FMD: NO THANKS! impact on the overall Australian economy. Being free of the world's most trade-limiting livestock disease is a status that we must protect at all costs. Preparedness is not simply a matter of demanding that the Government "be ready, just fix it" -- preparedness and response capability is a combined responsibility. All members of the community, particularly everyone working in livestock industries, have a role to play. First, there is an ongoing responsibility of governments, state and federal, to ensure that there is adequate capacity to respond and manage such an incident. This includes ongoing training, suitable infrastructure such as laboratories, border protection as well as human and financial resources. Second, the community has an important responsibility, particularly when returning to Australia from FMD-affected countries by ensuring that strict biosecurity requirements are followed. Third, industry leaders are charged with ensuring they are provided with the latest information and research to ensure that sound, robust policy is developed. In particular, FMD vaccination policies must be continually assessed and reviewed. And finally, the role of beef producers. On-farm biosecurity is critically important because early detection is vital for any effective disease control and eradication campaign. If producers suspect that something unusual is occurring on their farm that may be related to a livestock disease, immediate action must be taken. Early intervention could be the difference between controlling the disease or allowing it to spread across the country. The duration of the outbreak will directly correlate with the ability to rapidly deploy large numbers of personnel; this is where the industry and government partnership must deliver results. Despite many years of education, experience, research, global program coordination and many millions of dollars invested, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is still endemic in many parts of the world. Preparedness is not simply a matter of demanding that the Government "be ready, just fix it" -- preparedness and response capability is a combined responsibility.