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What is the role of industry now and in an ASF incursion?
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IT is clear the Australian pork supply chain is high- ly sensitised to what may occur during an African swine fever incursion.
This concern enables a focus on preparations – including governments working out how they may manage an ASF incur- sion, producers working through how an incursion may affect their business (whether disease has been identified on their farm or not) and the input and output supply chains.
It’s fair to say that this has created much uncer- tainty and speculation about what the gaps are and whose role it is to ad- dress them.
A good description of what happens in an incur- sion is that we’re all on a bus – and government is the driver.
There are a lot of people across the industry sitting on that bus looking at the chasm in the road coming up fast.
Australian Pork Limited may be the navigator try- ing to work through gaps such as business continu- ity, response plans and others.
This all feels like chaos, even though the frame- work to manage the re- sponse does exist.
This framework is con- tained in the series of documents known as the
• Additional research and information needs;
government officials.
The role of Governments is to ensure the arrange- ments are in order to con- trol and to stamp out any
exotic disease incursion. As I see it, APL’s role is ascertaining what gaps there are in these arrange- ments, particularly those that fall outside the remit
of governments.
As previously advised,
business continuity plan- ning for producers is one of these, along with iden- tifying any research needs e.g. can the kangaroo soft tick play a role in trans- mitting ASF to feral pigs?
In addition to research needs, APL is:
• Reviewing draft ASF response, surveillance and tracing plans currently be- ing drafted by state gov- ernments;
• Providing input into the review of Australia’s priority animal diseases;
• Providing input into the review of the ASF AusVetPlan manual;
• Ensuring the industry’s liaisons, specialists, vets and decision makers are sufficient and are trained;
• Along with state farm- ing organisations, work- ing with state govern- ments to test their prepar- edness arrangements;
• Continuing to commu- nicate with producers on the disease arrangements through several channels; and
• Talking to feral pig hunters to seek their sup- port in surveillance of fe- ral pigs, taking samples for testing for disease and tick identification, and their co-operation not to move pigs to new regions for hunting purposes.
It is imperative produc- ers and pork supply chain partners understand how any exotic disease incur- sion will impact their businesses.
For a producer, the ex- tent of this will depend on whether their pigs have the disease, whether they are in a control or restricted zone (where pigs cannot be moved, or pigs and feed received), and whether a pig, pork and pork products stand- still occurs and for how long.
Even if you are fortu- nate not to have these apply, Australia’s export markets will close, there will be domestic market impacts and subsequently the prices for your pigs are likely to change as a result of oversupply and undersupply.
It is essential you think about these impacts and develop continuity plans so that your business can get through a disease in- cursion.
APL is currently review- ing a checklist business continuity plan and will shortly make this avail- able to producers.
ASF is a hunting mech- anism for holes in bio- security.
It is essential you con- tinue to review your farm biosecurity plans.
Even if ASF does not get to Australia, it is im- perative your piggery’s biosecurity has no holes – this includes reviewing of people, pig and vehi- cle movements, perimeter fencing and inanimate things including boots, clothing, trucks, cars, phones, pens and food.
Anything that has access to your farm and your pigs is a risk you need to man- age.
• Accounting dures; and
• Monitoring.
Point of View
AusVetPlans found on Animal Health Australia’s website animalhealthaus-, which de- tails how governments and industry work togeth- er during an incursion and their respective roles and responsibilities.
A lot of preparation has already been done (much of this is generic) or is underway.
State governments are currently drafting their ASF response plans, a plan for tracing pigs, sur- veillance plans and so on.
The response plan is a key document with the purpose of showing the proposed response is technically sound, whether eradication or containment is possible and the estimated costs of doing this.
It will be pre-filled where information is known and must be com-
pleted within a few hours of a positive test.
It covers:
• Status report suspected disease, for ex- ample location, species, clinical situation, labora- tory diagnosis, results of tracing and surveillance, numbers of susceptible species nearby, actions taken to date and the fea- sibility of eradication;
• Proposed response ac- tivities such as quarantine arrangements and move- ment controls, stamping out, decontamination and farm clean up procedures, restocking, diagnosis, surveillance and tracing, zoning, situation reports, management of feral pigs, proof of freedom proto- cols and animal welfare;
• Indicative budget;
• Public relations;
• Local and state control
The response plan deter- mines how much money is required to combat the incursion (including those costs which are repaid to government from produc- ers via a specific slaughter levy).
It must be approved by the National Management Group (comprised of min- isters, chairs of affected industries and the chair of an unaffected or inde- pendent industry).
The response plan will be updated as the incur- sion event unfolds.
During a disease incur- sion, events and circum- stances change hourly, daily and weekly.
As a result, governments require some flexibility in how they will manage an incursion.
They have the capac- ity to call on resources, including the armed ser- vices to assist.
This occurred during the north Queensland floods earlier in the year when Army specialists assisted in developing plans on how to deal with the animals that did not survive.
Their role was to come up with the burial plan, which was then put in place by local and state
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Page 8 – Australian Pork Newspaper, August 2019

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