Local Land Services runs emergency animal disease outbreak training exercise

In response to the threat of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in neighbouring countries, South East Local Land Services recently hosted an emergency management training exercise on 23 May in Yass. This exercise aimed to upskill and prepare agencies involved in emergency response and management for the event of an FMD incursion.

“We cannot underestimate the impact that FMD would have on Australia’s livestock industry,” said Mark Lettfuss, Principal Project Officer of Local Land Service’s Foot-and-Mouth Prevention and Preparedness Program. “It’s imperative to ensure that our staff and stakeholders are trained and ready to act immediately in the event of an incursion.”

The exercise featured a livestock standstill scenario with attendees running through the procedures and logistics of implementing a livestock standstill.

“If FMD was detected here, a national livestock standstill would give us time to implement surveillance, tracing and control measures to restrict the spread of disease,” said Louise MacDonald, Risk and Emergency Coordinator.

Additionally, the exercise included a personal protective equipment demonstration, a presentation on the importance of livestock tracing, and emergency animal disease outbreak scenarios for attendees to implement their skills. The day also included an optional tour of South Eastern Livestock Exchange (SELX) Yass.

“FMD is a highly contagious disease that has the potential to spread rapidly,” said Louise. “Our training exercise focuses on being able to stop that spread in the shortest possible time.”

Approximately 40 were in attendance on the day, with participants including Local Land Services staff, stock agents and other agencies such as NSW Police, SES, NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Department of Communities and Justice, and the ACT Government.

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