November, 2022

Foot-and-mouth disease poses animal threat

The impact of the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia is a cause for concern as it poses a threat to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) livestock industry.   

FMD is a highly contagious animal disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and other cloven-hoofed animals – both domesticated and wild.   

Since Indonesia’s first case was reported in early May, almost 459,000 cases were detected; of which 4,720 animals were killed by the disease as of August 4.   

While the Indonesian Government is aiming at getting the outbreak under control by the end of the year, largely through nationwide rollout of vaccinations, the outbreak has caused an estimated annual loss of US$1.37 billion to the economy.   

The disease is caused by a virus with infections resulting in blisters (vesicular lesions) in and around the mouth and on the feet, making the animals reluctant to eat or move. It is spread by infected animals when in contact with contaminated farming equipment, vehicles, clothing, and feed, and by domestic and wild predators.   

PNG shares land and sea borders with Indonesia hence an incursion of the virus would have significant consequences on PNG’s animal health and trade. This is so given that pig is a large part of PNG’s customary lifeline for social and economic needs while cattle, sheep and goals are considerably reared.   

Australia and New Zealand, two nearby cattle producing nations, have stepped up their biosecurity measures against FMD. Australia estimates an economic loss of $5-6 billion Aussie dollars for a small, contained outbreak of FMD.   

NBPOL is presently the dominant local producer of cattle for over 50% of the domestic beef market. Ramu Beef has been monitoring the situation in Indonesia, Bali and Australia.