Simple efforts by hunters to maintain hygiene protocols when entering properties can prevent catastrophe striking Australia’s agricultural industries. Insects, weeds, pathogens and disease can be brought on to properties unwittingly by visitors via soil and plant material on vehicles, clothing and footwear. To that end, the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA National) is proud to partner with Grain Producers Australia (GPA) to create greater awareness of biosecurity measures among SSAA members and the wider hunting community via the Secure Our Farms – Hunt BioAware program.
This campaign is a proactive biosecurity education effort. Maintaining a clean vehicle, equipment, footwear and clothing ensures hunters can conduct their pest animal control activities and further assist farmers by following property biosecurity guidelines. SSAA National Wildlife Programs Leader Matthew Godson said the biosecurity threats posed by contaminated soil and plants passing between properties were often less visible than the pest animals hunters are used to addressing.
“Just like pest animals, these weeds, insects, pathogens and diseases present very real threats to a farmer’s bottom line,” Mr Godson said. “The control of pest animals by a hunter is just as vital to biosecurity management as pest weed, disease and insect control. The difference is these more sinister and almost invisible biosecurity threats can be effectively controlled by everyone entering and exiting a property doing the right thing.”
Australian agriculture is worth $81 billion to the economy, providing vital food and commodities for both Australia and overseas countries. It’s estimated a large multi-state foot-and-mouth outbreak would cost livestock producers more than $52 billion over a 10-year period. An ACIL Allen report in 2019 on the potential incursion of African swine fever into the Australian pork sector, estimated total economic losses between $1.5 to $2 billion under a high-spread scenario spanning five years.
GPA chairman Barry Large said while many people do the right thing, complacency is the enemy of biosecurity. “Vigilance is vital to protecting farm productivity and performance,” he said. “Someone entering a farm without the farmer’s knowledge and not following the right protocols also risks spreading serious biosecurity risks, which could decimate our $28 billion cropping sector. If we had a combined biosecurity outbreak for crops and animals, it would also threaten our food security and increase prices for everyday Australians and the countries we export to.”
HUNTER BIOSECURITY RESOURCES
Come Clean, Go Clean – tips for hunters
- Arrive with a clean vehicle and gear
- Wash down your vehicle and gear before heading home
- Take all food waste home with you
- Check carcasses for any unusual signs of disease
Source: New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.
Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888
Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881