As we learned from Covid, bad news in other countries can quickly affect our everyday lives here in Albury Wodonga. The current FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) outbreak in Indonesia is another example that has potential to change our whole food and agriculture system within weeks – and not for the better!
An FMD outbreak in Australia could mean mass killing of livestock to try and stop the spread, restrictions on movement of people and animals and less home-grown food in our butchers and supermarkets – to name just a few of the consequences. As we now know – no laughing matter.
That’s what makes stopping it everybody’s business.
Foot and mouth disease virus is carried by live cloven-hoofed animals (eg. cattle, pigs, sheep) and in meat and dairy products, as well as in soil, bones, untreated hides, vehicles and equipment used with these animals. It can also be carried on people’s clothing and footwear and survive in frozen, chilled and freeze-dried foods. Find out more about FMD here.
Parklands staff have stepped up in the way we operate as the anxiety around a potential FMD outbreak is heightened, adding some additional steps to our normal routines while moving between parks in the region. These include
- Carrying a set of disinfected boots to use while working at a specific site.
- Regularly washing, scrubbing and disinfecting workboots and runners using a simple footbath system to wash and scrub any soil, then disinfect in a separate footbath with diluted bleach.
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning down vehicles and trailers with a pressure washer, and
- Accessing sites on foot, so as to avoid driving in vehicles where practical.
As we shift into spring, all of the Wodonga hills are grazed to manage fuel loads. This means people utilising the bush parks and trails are sharing the space with livestock, even if you can’t see them.
We encourage park users to regularly clean and disinfect their shoes and bicycle tyres to reduce the risk of spreading pests and diseases. Please, now is the time to take this disease threat seriously and take action to help keep our local farms safe and our food supplies secure.
Here is an example of a simple system of CLEAN, WASH, DISINFECT.