When we talk about biosecurity in the Australian red meat industry, most people think of procedures focused on keeping exotic foreign diseases out of Australia. While that’s a major part of biosecurity measures, it’s by no means their sole purpose.
A huge amount of effort goes into biosecurity measures which ensure that the domestic movement of cattle between properties does not also cause the transfer of pests or weeds. This is particularly critical for farms looking to maintain organic and/or EU accreditations.
One such farm is run by Melinee and Rob Leather who, with their son Adam and his wife Chloe, have a 4,000‑head Brahman‑based herd to produce animals suitable for EU and organic markets. Their exemplary use of biosecurity measures to prevent disease, manage pest and weed threats, and practise animal welfare was recognised by the Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award, presented to them at this year’s Australian Biosecurity Awards.
To the Leathers, biosecurity is a tool to protect their own business, as well as contribute to the integrity of the whole industry. “Our markets demand biosecurity – without it, nothing else really matters. Biosecurity affects the health of our livestock, our environment, even our people, and it’s everyone’s responsibility,” noted Melinee.
Biosecurity and the European market
As well as making sense from farm and animal health perspectives, Australia’s stringent biosecurity policies also underpin the EU accreditation scheme – particularly important for farmers like the Leathers, given that EU-accredited farms are audited on both a random and targeted basis by EU and Australian auditors.
Australia has strict biosecurity controls across the whole supply chain, all of which are vital to guaranteeing world-class levels of food safety, and maintaining the country’s reputation as a safe, high-quality red meat producer. Australian red meat exports consistently meet EU food import safety standards.
In 2015, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) audited Australia’s animal health and biosecurity systems, benchmarking it against over 130 countries worldwide. Australia received the highest competency in 38 out of 47 criteria, reaffirming the country’s position as an exporter of natural, premium red meat product.
Article Date: 21st August 2019