Updated: Oct 4, 2022
TOP TIPS | What can farmers do?
An ability to rapidly and accurately trace animal movements (ie NAIT) would be absolutely critical in limiting the impacts of foot and mouth disease (FMD). The importance of this cannot be overstated.
2) Have a robust biosecurity plan.
3) BE VIGILANT - following any suspicion, call your veterinarian EARLY!
The Wrap with The Rural Round Up
With it feeling very much like FMD is on our backdoor, we were pleased to be able to have a chat with Andy on The Rural Roundup about the nuts and bolts of the disease and what it would mean for Aotearoa.
This is a disease that needs our utmost respect, including making sure everyone who comes to New Zealand follows the rules.
There's a lot of advice on the virus, how it is spread (e.g. direct contact, objects, wind), and what to look out for (e.g. lameness, slobbering, reduced milk). Check out the information shared by MPI, Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ.
Why does it matter?
Firstly, FMD is very painful for infected animals and given it's highly infectious, many would be affected (though few would directly die from it (ie high morbidity; low mortality)). Alongside this, there are significant production impacts, and an incursion would result in export restrictions. Dairy, red meat, and pork exports would stop until the disease was eradicated with a significant financial and social impact on our rural communities, and NZ’s economy (with estimates of ~NZ$16 billion). Impacts would include:
a large loss of national income with most of the impact falling on the primary sector and agricultural processors.
an increase in world prices for agricultural commodities.
a depreciation in New Zealand’s exchange rate.
recovery timing (after eradication) that depends on our trading partners.
There is often chatter about vaccination either as a preventative, or its use during an incursion. While Aotearoa cannot vaccinate prophylactically for FMD, it is a tool that might be considered in the face of an incursion.
“New Zealand is recognised by the OIE and by our trading partners as a FMD-free country where vaccination is not practised. To retain this status, FMD vaccine cannot be used pre-emptively before an outbreak occurs.”
If it was used, there are two options for vaccination use:
requires 6 months for freedom-from status
less death, longer shut down and economic impacts
requires 3 months for freedom-from status
allows wait for killing capacity.
The Final Word | use NAIT; attend to biosecurity; be vigilant.