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Department of Primary Industries:
Prompt Reporting Vital For Industry Protection

Responsibility to report any unusual signs of disease in livestock promptly

By DNRE - 20th November 2002 - Back to News

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All livestock producers have an ethical, legal and economic responsibility to report any unusual signs of disease in livestock promptly, so an early diagnosis can be made.

It has been 20 months since the beginning of the foot and mouth disease epidemic in the United Kingdom. In January 2002, anthrax occurred in Queensland. While these were very different diseases in different countries, they both highlight the need to promptly report any unusual signs or symptoms of disease in livestock.

Emergency or serious animal diseases can prove enormously costly to control or eradicate if not reported and acted on quickly. The total direct cost of the foot and mouth disease epidemic to taxpayers in the United Kingdom was A$21.54 billion for animals destroyed, other seized and destroyed items, cleaning and disinfection, disposal and transport of carcasses and veterinary costs.

An outbreak of an emergency animal disease can cripple a livestock industry and cause individual and widespread economic hardship. It can cause anxiety in livestock industries, withdrawal of privileged trade conditions and affect tourism. It can affect the ability of animals and the public to move freely in rural areas. Export markets may not be restored until the disease is eradicated. Some emergency animal diseases may also affect people.

Thanks to strict quarantine measures regarding the importation of animals and animal products into Australia, we are free of many emergency animal diseases.

A property owner that does not report unusual signs of disease takes a serious risk that extends to neighbours, the livestock industries and the community. It is vital that livestock managers contact their veterinarian if any unusual signs or symptoms are seen in their stock. Animal Health staff of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment investigate suspect emergency disease cases at no cost.

The Emergency Animal Disease Hotline number is 1800 675 888.


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