MLA Vietnam’s Tien Nguyen with Tom Dawkins, NTLEA, at the Hoa Phat feedlot near Ho Chi Minh City in November 2022.
MLA Vietnam’s Tien Nguyen with Tom Dawkins, NTLEA, at the Hoa Phat feedlot near Ho Chi Minh City in November 2022.

Livestock export ties boosting animal disease defence

BIOSECURITY ‘neighbourhood watch’ networks across livestock export supply chains throughout South East Asia will continue to be pivotal to Australia’s forward-defence against animal disease incursions, according to NT Livestock Exporters’ Association CEO Tom Dawkins.

Mr Dawkins said the commercial partnerships Australian exporters maintain with customers across key cattle import regions in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam had given Australia a clear line of sight into the regional spread of Lumpy Skin Disease and Foot and Mouth Disease.

“Without the live trade, Australia just wouldn’t have the real-time biosecurity ‘eyes and ears’ across SE Asia which is proving so valuable in monitoring and managing the spread of these diseases,” Mr Dawkins said.

“I commend the important government-to-government work underway which is crucial, but there’s just no substitute for the buy-in we’ve got with livestock importers. The live trade is built on collaborative commercial partnerships and real-time communication to maintain animal health and welfare, all of which proving critical in the way the way the regional response to LSD and FMD is coordinated.”

Mr Dawkins is representing the NT Livestock Exporters’ Association and the NT Buffalo Industry Council this week in Jakarta, where he’s traveling with NT Government representatives including NT Minister for Agribusiness Paul Kirby and NT Cattlemen’s Association CEO Will Evans.

The NT delegation will look at strengthening biosecurity collaborations with Indonesia and will include a special roundtable meeting with industry, government on Thursday (December 8) to discuss livestock disease management and mitigation.

Mr Dawkins said recently announced Commonwealth funding of $1.2million to LiveCorp to support the rollout of FMD and LSD vaccines in Indonesia was recognition of the unique value of exporter-importer relationships in disease mitigation. He said without the live cattle trade’s reach into key parts of SE Asia, Australia’s ability to offer regional support and share in disease-management intelligence would be critically compromised.

Mr Dawkins travelled to Vietnam last month with NT Cattlemen’s Association president David Connolly and NT Government representatives, where they visited importers with experience in managing diseases like LSD and FMD.

“If we want to see how commercial cattle enterprises in Indonesia can manage ongoing threats of incursions of serious viral diseases, we can look to the success of our customers in Vietnam,” Mr Dawkins said.

“Feedlots in Vietnam have shown the way to manage outbreaks risks as they arise, to protect the wellbeing of the animals in their supply chain and continue to supply healthy, fresh beef to the market.”

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