Victoria's new chief vet, Charles Milne was in the role in Scotland during the last catastrophic F&M outbreak in the UK and thinks its not if, but when, Australia's livestock succumb to the virus.LIBBY PRICE August 7, 2014 11:00pm
Victoria's recently appointed Chief Veterinarian Charles Milne visits Tom Marriot's farm at Tarnook. Dr Milne was chief vet in the United Kingdom when it had a foot and mouth disease outbreak in 2001
It’s not a matter of if, but when Australia has an outbreak of the catastrophic foot and mouth disease in livestock.
That’s the educated opinion of Victoria’s recently appointed chief veterinarian Charles Milne, who has moved here from Scotland where he held the same position for six years, including during the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001 which cost the United Kingdom’s farming sector eight billion pounds and far more for the wider economy.
It’s estimated a similar outbreak here would cost the Australian economy about $50
Dr Milne visited Benalla last week as part of his introduction to Victorian agriculture. He believes while Australia has the natural advantage of being an island continent, there are still a number of ways the devastating virus could find its way here and infect our livestock.
‘‘Swill feeding is probably the number one (feeding left-over food to pigs), even kitchen waste. In the UK the swine fever outbreak in 2000 was caused in a free-range pig herd by feeding waste food .
The virus survives well in animal bone and, to a lesser extent, meat.
World trade rules now ban the trade of ‘‘bone in meat’’ products but Dr Milne says no country can ever reduce the risk to zero even with a total ban on meat imports.
‘‘You import product like ‘parma’ ham and in all likelihood some illegally brought-in material.
‘‘You can’t always produce all the products that you need.
‘‘What we wouldn’t want to do is put unnecessary restrictions on trade and reduce peoples’ choices,’’ Dr Milne said.
‘‘What we need to do is make sure the safeguards that we’ve got in place are sufficient to keep the virus risk mitigated. We have very strong controls on bringing animals and animal material into Australia but we do trade in animal products and .
Dr Milne discusses his commitment to mandatory electronic tagging of sheep and goats on page 4 of Country News this week.
Shepparton’s Declo Bisimwa firmly believes education is the key to a better life.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Garners Boxing Gym in Echuca is encouraging young people to get active with weekly boxing/cardio classes.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
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Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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