Categories: Breaking NewsNews

Malaysia suspends import of live cattle from Australia on LSD concerns

MALAYSIA has paused the import of live cattle and buffalo from Australia after neighbouring Indonesia earlier decided to halt imports from four Australian facilities over concerns about lumpy skin disease (LSD) last month.

Australia Chief Veterinary Officer Dr Mark Schipp confirmed the Malaysian move in response to fears of the highly infectious viral disease.

In a statement released yesterday, he said the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has been advised that Malaysia has temporarily suspended live cattle and buffalo exports from Australia.

“We understand this decision was based on Indonesia’s advice that it will not accept cattle from four specific export establishments following detection of LSD in exported Australian cattle after they had arrived and spent time in Indonesia,” he said.

“As Australia’s chief veterinary officer, I can confirm that lumpy skin disease, or LSD, has never been detected in Australia, and Australia remains free from the disease.”

LSD is a highly infectious viral disease of cattle and buffalo that is transmitted by biting insects — it is not a disease that poses a risk to humans.

Indonesia is the largest market for Australian live cattle exports.

Malaysia has imported in the vicinity of 20,000 to 30,000 head of cattle from Australia annually in recent years, but has only imported 2,328 head in the first six months of 2023, reported Beef Central, an online portal on the Australian beef industry.

Testing has also been underway in the four suspended facilities in Queensland, the Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA), with those results expected to be presented to Indonesia later this week or early next week, the report added.

Schipp said the Australian authorities are working to finalise the investigation into the relevant health status of the cattle herds associated with these establishments to provide the assurances that Indonesia has requested.

“Australia is urgently engaging with its Malaysian counterparts to confirm our robust animal health system, and to advise that LSD is not present in Australia.

“I have made representations to my Malaysian counterpart, requesting the import restriction on live cattle and buffalo from Australia be lifted without delay. I have also confirmed to the World Organisation for Animal Health that Australia remains LSD free in accordance with international standards,” he said.

He added that the department has briefed the industry and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to provide the necessary assurances to its trading partners on its animal health status.

“While Indonesia has sought assurances that Australian cattle comply with its health requirements, it is important to recognise that Australian livestock products continue to be traded, and the detection of LSD in cattle of Australian-origin post-arrival in Indonesia does not affect the animal health status of Australia.

“Australia has robust biosecurity systems in place for the ongoing monitoring of Australia’s animal disease status including for LSD,” he said. — TMR / pic BLOOMBERG


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