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How the red meat industry is responding to the threat of Lumpy Skin Disease

09 June 2022

Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is a viral cattle and water buffalo disease that causes relatively low mortality but can result in animal welfare issues and significant production losses. If an incursion was to occur in Australia, access to significant international markets would be disrupted.

Importantly, there are no safety implications for the human food chain from an outbreak of LSD.

Australia is currently free from LSD and our priority is to keep it that way. At the same time, while the red meat industry has confidence in Australia’s strong biosecurity measures, our industry is not taking anything for granted.

Managing the situation

In response to the significant risk posed by the recent outbreak of LSD in Indonesia, the Red Meat Advisory Council activated the red meat and livestock industry’s crisis management process. This led to the formation of a high-level cross-industry taskforce to ensure coordination and collaboration across all affected industry sectors.

The taskforce meets weekly and comprises senior representatives from the Red Meat Advisory Council, the National Farmers’ Federation, Australian Dairy Farmers, and their respective industry service providers, including Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA). 

To address the key elements of prevention, response and recovery, four skills-based committees have been established by the taskforce covering:

1. Overseas in-country support – to develop proposals for providing support to Indonesia and other neighbouring countries in their mitigation and management of LSD and to contribute to proposals for LSD support in overseas markets put forward by other parties.

2. Trade and protocols to undertake specific market risk analysis and market prioritisation and determine protocol and health certificate needs, both pre-emptive and reactive.

3. Domestic containment strategy to develop effective strategies to inform the containment and management of the spread of LSD should it arrive in Australia, complementing existing processes and plans, such as AUSVETPLAN, as well as other work being developed. This includes:

  • vector control
  • containment lines and zoning
  • quarantine
  • eradication and disposal
  • food safety
  • transport and movement
  • response capacity and capability. 

4. LSD diagnostic capability and vaccine development to develop strategies for the development of diagnostic capability and vaccines to diagnose, prevent and manage the spread of LSD, should it arrive in Australia.

MLA technical specialists are supporting the taskforce and the committees to undertake these important bodies of work. Industry is also heavily engaged with state and federal governments to manage the biosecurity risk posed by LSD and ongoing response planning.

What you can do

Early detection will be essential to reduce the potential impact of LSD, should it arrive in Australia.

Cattle producers are urged to exercise vigilance on-farm by: