Open borders and livestock standstills

Open borders and livestock standstills

July 08 2022
  • With Australia opening its borders to more international travel comes the potential for higher biosecurity risks
  • Producers must follow their biosecurity plans and take all necessary measures to protect their livestock
  • A mandated livestock standstill can ease further contamination and give time for tracing and testing.

After many months of domestic and international border closures, travel is back on the table – which brings with it an increase in movement and the potential spread of exotic livestock disease.

With livestock diseases in close proximity to Australia, such as lumpy skin disease, and foot and mouth disease, it is critical that producers and industry service providers take every precaution to maintain the biosecurity of red meat businesses.

While these diseases only affect livestock, many can be transmitted via human means – including asymptomatic contraction and exposed materials being moved across borders. It is recommended that travelers maintain safe biosecurity precautions while overseas, including cleaning clothing, and taking measures if you become unwell.

Protecting your farm business

While Australia’s border control works to stop biosecurity threats entering Australia – including meat products, foreign soils and other organics – everyone in the industry must do their part to maintain a high level of security.

With more international travelers arriving in Australia for tourism and work, it is important that any who enter a farm or production space have been tested for risks, and there are biosecurity measures in place. Make sure that, when reasonable, you are controlling who is entering the property, and any possible contaminations they may bring, including soil from shoes, exotic diseases and other foreign materials.

The best way producers can protect their property is completing a farm biosecurity plan, which addresses livestock monitoring, quarantine and disease control. This plan is not only proof of LPA compliance, but also essential to record specific details of livestock traceability, health and safety. Your first call for discussions on possible infection should be your local veterinarian, who can also sign off and assist with your biosecurity plan.

While ISC has developed a farm biosecurity plan template that LPA producers can use, it is important to note that many peak bodies and state departments have their own versions – all of which are acceptable options for planning mitigation of biosecurity threats. If you have already completed a biosecurity plan from a peak industry body or state department, you do not have to complete an additional LPA plan. Producers are encouraged to upload the biosecurity plan to their LPA account and review it at least annually.  

Standstills to stop disease spread

In the event of large-scale disease outbreak, your state department of primary industries may call for a livestock standstill, also known as a movement restriction, to prevent further disease spread through the value chain. This stop in transportation gives responders time to conduct investigations, trace infected animals and test for further contamination.

Once the industry is notified of a standstill, livestock cannot be moved from their current location or PIC. If livestock are already in transit, state departments provide direction based on their individual state’s regulations.

You can assist responders during a livestock standstill by ensuring your traceability records are complete and up-to-date, including:

Livestock standstills are not nationally regulated and will vary depending on your state. View contact details for each state department.

What to do next

With concern regarding the proximity of several exotic diseases, producers are encouraged to consider the following actions to help protect their properties, livestock and industry:

The current threat of animal disease highlights the importance of effective biosecurity planning, specifically through our red meat integrity systems for traceability and on-farm assurance. When you do your part to protect your business, you are also helping protect our entire Australian red meat industry.

Find out more about biosecurity preventative measures on the biosecurity web page.