International approach key in fighting African Swine Fever

NSW Farmers applauds Australian efforts in mobilising local biosecurity and veterinary expertise to help neighbouring countries fight infectious animal disease.

The Australian Government has announced the deployment of biosecurity and logistics personnel to Papua New Guinea to help control the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak, while a $4.3 million program will help send a consortium of veterinary and disease control experts to train ‘animal disease detectives’ in 11 South East Asian countries over three years.

NSW Farmers Pork Committee Chair Ean Pollard says international cooperation is vital in the fight against diseases like African swine fever (ASF), a deadly pig disease that has spread through over a quarter of the global pig population and threatens Australian shores.

“Fighting ASF will not only mean building our own biosecurity capabilities, but building those of neighbouring countries like Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste where ASF already exists.”

“With ASF at our doorstep, it is promising to see initiatives like the veterinary consortium being formed. We need to be looking beyond our own borders in the fight against ASF.”

Mr Pollard says overseas investment in biosecurity signifies a positive attitudinal shift to understand animal related diseases better.

“We are armed with a fair bit of knowledge about ASF and we know that while it is highly deadly in pigs, it cannot affect humans. But it’s not the first animal disease and it won’t be the last, so we need to be aware of any diseases cropping up.”

“If the coronavirus crisis has taught us anything, it is that without knowledge, planning and preparedness, infectious diseases can be devastating.”

“There’s no time to be complacent about ASF or any animal disease. The more we work with our international neighbours the more likely we will be able to prevent any disease reaching our shore.”

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