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Malaysia suspends live Australian cattle imports

The decision follows concerns over lumpy skin disease.

Malaysia has halted the live imports of Australian cattle and buffalo following the discovery of lumpy skin disease (LSD) from an Australian export to Indonesia last week.

Australian representatives have been in contact with Malaysia, urging for the import restriction to be lifted, as Australia remains free of LSD according to the World Organisation of Animal Health.

Australian Chief Veterinary Officer Mark Schipp said in a statement that the disease has never been detected in Australia.

“We understand this decision was based on Indonesia’s advice that they will not accept cattle from four specific export establishments following detection of LSD in exported Australian cattle after they had arrived and spent time in Indonesia.

“We are working to finalise the investigation into the relevant health status of the cattle herds associated with these establishments to provide the assurances that Indonesia has requested,” he said.

Hundreds of cattle in Australia have been taken in for testing. If they are found with the disease it could have a $7 billion impact on the Australian economy.

Nationals’ leader David Littleproud expressed concerns about Australia’s livestock export reputation in an interview with Today.

“Our international reputation has been hard fought and we are disease-free (and) that disease-free status gives us a premium that needs to be protected,” he said.

Lumpy skin disease is transmitted primarily to cattle and buffalo through insect bites, affecting the appearance of the animal’s skin (lumps), eyes and consists of high fevers.

The disease was first detected in 13 cattle exported from Australia to Indonesia earlier this year in March, however there has been no detection of LSD in Australia prior.

In accordance with the 2022 report from Trading Economics, Australia’s exportation of live animals to Malaysia is valued at $15.97 million.

Photo: cows by Amanda Ho available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. This image has not been modified.

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