Foot & Mouth Disease Hub


The Risks of Foot and Mouth Disease

With the recent detection of Foot and Mouth Disease in Bali and Indonesia more broadly, an expert panel within the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries believes there is now an 11.6% chance of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak within the next five years, this is up from 9% before the virus was detected in Indonesia.

Foot and Mouth Disease is prevalent in many places around the world including Africa, Asia and South America. Australia has successfully kept Foot and Mouth Disease out for 150 years through targeted biosecurity measures.

By exercising vigilance we can keep Foot and Mouth Disease out of Australia, but it is important everyone knows the risks we face and what they can do to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease.

In a worst-case scenario, an outbreak could cost the Australian economy $80 billion over ten years and cause significant disruptions to the food supply chain in Australia.

Foot and Mouth Disease does not have an impact on meat quality or Human Health and should not be confused with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease in children.

Foot and Mouth Disease – Signs and Symptoms

If your cattle show signs of FMD, you must report it immediately. Call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888, or your local veterinarian. Keep an eye out for:

  • fever
  • drooling and excessive salivation
  • reluctance to move
  • blisters on the mouth, snout, tongue, lips or between and above the hooves. Blisters may be intact or rupture – exposing raw tissue and causing pain.

Click here to download the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ FMD symptoms fact sheet 

Government Action To Date

Cattle Council expects Federal and State Governments to increase biosecurity funding as the risk of a biosecurity incursion increases.

So far the response from the Federal Government has been appropriate in matching the increased risk.

  • The introduction of disinfectant floor mats at Australian airports
  • The introduction of biosecurity detector dogs in Darwin and Cairns Airports
  • More prominent information at airports informing travellers of FMD risk and precautions
  • Information campaigns informing travellers of their biosecurity responsibilities
  • Additional training of airport biosecurity staff 
  • Enhancement of mail profiling and inspections, and
  • Screening 100% of passengers on randomly-selected flights from Indonesia
  • $9 million for 18 new biosecurity officers in airports and mail centres, and targeted diagnostic and surveillance activities targeting FMD and LSD.
  • $5 million to provide technical expertise and support to Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea to assist in their work in combatting livestock diseases.

In addition, Cattle Council is calling for the Federal Government to also consider:

  • A review of spot-fines to make sure they provide a sufficient deterrent to people who provide a false biosecurity declaration.
  • Increased investment in livestock traceability to help provide cover for all red meat species.

While Cattle Council supports the use of airport foot baths as part of a mix of preventative measures, we acknowledge they provide far from 100% protection. This is because they only sanitise the shoes on a traveller’s feet.

Keeping Foot and Mouth Disease Away from your Property

 In the event of an outbreak, the last line of defence against Foot and Mouth Disease will be at the entry to your property.

While we can’t eliminate 100% of risks, a well-managed property with an up-to-date biosecurity plan will be able to significantly reduce the likelihood of Foot and Mouth Disease infections.

Reducing movements of people and animals on and off your property is key to reducing the likelihood of a disease outbreak on your farm.

Know the signs of Foot and mouth disease (FMD) and what to look out for in your cloven-hoofed animals, and who to contact if you spot anything unusual.

  • Cattle may show fever, be drooling and will be reluctant to move.
  • They can suffer blisters on the mouth, tongue, lips or feet. 
  • Blisters may be intact or ruptured, exposing raw tissue which is very painful.  

People in northern Australia need to be particularly vigilant. Not only do they need to check their livestock but if signs are seen in feral pigs, goats, camels or water buffalo, immediate action needs to be taken.

Producers can help prevent an outbreak by:

Free Foot and Mouth Disease Information Sessions

Information on upcoming biosecurity webinars will appear here. Please see previous online events below.

ISC Biosecurity Webinar – 9 August 2022

Find out how to protect your livestock and livelihood from biosecurity risks and learn practical hints and tips. Put your questions to an expert panel of speakers from ISC, Meat & Livestock Australia and Animal Health Australia  

Industry Webinar on FMD and LSD – 20 July 2022

Find out how you can be on the lookout for lumpy skin disease and foot-and-mouth disease and get the latest information on the emerging situation. Guests include Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, NFF President; Fiona Simson, RMAC Chair; John McKillop and Dr Samantha Allen from AHA.

Cattle Council Statements

National Biosecurity Strategy is Smart Thinking

Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a National Biosecurity Strategy, which will help better coordinate preparedness and biosecurity responses in the event of an incursion. CCA President Lloyd Hick said Cattle Council has provided significant input in developing the strategy. “This strategy is aimed at getting everyone on the same team to...

Foot & Mouth Taskforce Must Be Proactive

Cattle Council is urging the Federal Government to make sure the new Exotic Animal Disease Preparedness Taskforce takes active steps to reduce the risk of animal diseases before they happen. This is an unprecedented taskforce, bringing together the expertise of the agriculture department, Emergency Management Australia, Border Force, Defence and Animal Health Australia. Cattle Council President,...

Protect Your Property from Foot & Mouth

Cattle Council is urging all beef producers to take precautions against Foot and Mouth Disease, to help prevent an outbreak in Australia. While Cattle Council is advocating for increased biosecurity measures to keep Foot and Mouth Disease out of the country in the first place, it is important producers are able to respond to an incursion. Cattle Council President, Lloyd Hick said producers...

Foot and Mouth Intercepted at Border

Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has praised biosecurity officials who intercepted pork and beef products contaminated with Foot and Mouth Disease fragments at our international border. The pork item was not declared on the passenger’s arrival card but was presented to biosecurity when prompted, the beef product was undeclared. Foot and Mouth Disease is not transmissible to humans. CCA...

Red Meat is Safe Meat

Cattle Council has moved to reassure the public that it is perfectly safe to eat beef, despite the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease. The reassurance has been made due to confusion around the impact of Foot and Mouth Disease. Cattle Council President, Lloyd Hick said the disease was not transmissible to humans. “Foot and Mouth Disease can’t make you sick,” Mr Hick said. “It also has no impact on...

Traceability Could Be an FMD Super Power

A nationalised traceability system that includes individual electronic identification could spare Australia’s livestock and associated industries from the worst of a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak if rolled out across all red meat species. Currently, electronic identification is required across the beef supply chain but is yet to be broadly implemented in other sectors such as the sheep and...

Foot & Mouth Means No Meat, No Milk Maybe for Months

A widespread outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease could see red meat and dairy products stripped from Australian grocery stores, despite there being no risk to food safety. Should this occur, it’s unknown how long it would be before supplies could be restored. Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) is urging all travellers to think about the impact a Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak would have on their...

Don’t put our Livestock Industry at Risk

Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) has moved to reassure cattle producers that significant steps are being taken to protect the industry after the detection of Foot and Mouth Disease in Bali. CCA President Lloyd Hick said Australian beef cattle producers were right to be concerned by the threat. “This disease would gut our industry and can easily travel back to Australia on clothing,” Mr Hick...

Lumpy Skin Decision Sensible and Pragmatic

Cattle Council of Australia has commended the Australian Government’s decision to give the CSIRO everything it needs to test and develop effective vaccines to manage Lumpy Skin Disease. The Federal Government has announced it will import the live virus, so scientists at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness can undertake vaccine and diagnostic research. Cattle Council President, Markus...

Lumpy Skin Disease needs Australia’s best scientists

Australian infectious disease experts must be given access to live samples of Lumpy Skin Disease so they can develop an mRNA vaccine. The Cattle Council Policy Council and Board agreed to the position and adoption of the updated AusVet Plan at its quarterly meeting on Thursday. Cattle Council President Markus Rathsmann said an mRNA vaccine would be a powerful tool in preventing an outbreak in...