Bali Authorities Concerned Farmers Secretly Selling Cattle Due To Foot And Mouth Disease

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Prevention of the spread of foot and mouth disease is not only the government’s responsibility, is what Bali authorities are telling local farmers. There are fears that cases may continue to rise and that local farmers may be inclined to move their livestock to sell them at the market, despite a ban on the movement of animals. 

The Secretary of the Badung Foot and Mouth Disease Task Force Wayan Darma told local reporters ‘Prevention cannot be done by the government alone. The community, especially breeders, must also play an active role in helping suppress foot and mouth disease cases’. He urged local farmers not to secretly sell their livestock as this means transporting live animals which increases the risk of the disease spreading significantly.

According to local news sites, there have been ‘dozens’ of new cases in the Badung regency alone. As of the 21st of July, the last time new data was shared for Badung, there were 26 new positive cases. Baha Village, Mengwi District with a total of 13 cows.

Followed by 6 cows in Dalung Village, North Kuta District, 4 cows in Sempidi Village, 2 cows in Darmasaba Village, and 1 cow in Cemagi Village. Dozens more infected cows have been subjected to conditional slaughter to stop the spread of foot and mouth disease in its tracks.

Darma confirmed that there are over 57,700 at-risk animals in the Badung regency, including 34,000 cows and 23,000 pigs. He told the press ‘Currently, vaccination is still targeting all cattle, which currently number around 34,141 heads in Badung. As of last Tuesday, 5,267 cows have been vaccinated’. He also shared that hundreds of at-risk animals were being vaccinated every day. 

Currently, across Bali, the disease has only been detected in cattle. The virus affected animals with cloven feet like cows, goats, pigs, and deer. Darma said ‘We also anticipate pigs [will test positive]. Although there have been no cases of FMD in pigs, there is a high potential for transmission. We hope that breeders understand so that there will be no outbreaks that harm farmers for the second time’.

When asked about what actions the Badung arm of Bali’s Foot and Mouth Disease Task Force was taking to curb the outbreak Darma said that there are 25 veterinary personnel, 16 centenary technicians, and 15 staff from the local agricultural outreach centers who are working around the clock to get the situation under control. He said ‘Hopefully this epidemic will pass quickly so that farmers can return to selling their livestock as usual’.

On the 27th of July, the Buleleng Regency Task Force announced that the region was ‘clear’ from cases. They made the announcement based on updates that all cows who had tested positive or were showing clinical symptoms had been slaughtered, testing remains ongoing. 

Updates about Foot and Mouth Disease in Bali are important for travelers to help outline how serious of a biosecurity threat there is. Australia is taking matters very seriously as an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the country could cost upwards of AUD 80 billion in losses. 

This week an Australian columnist slammed maskless ‘brats’ at the airport in Bali for not taking biosecurity measures seriously. Jimmy Tomson issues scathing comments about young people’s reluctance to take the newly introduced biosecurity measures for foot and mouth disease seriously.

Although the virus does not affect humans people can transport the virus from one place to another. The virus can survive in the dirt that sits on shoes, clothing, or luggage for weeks. This is why Australia and New Zealand have introduced rigorous sanitation measures for travelers returning from Bali.

Travelers are also being asked to fill out arrivals cards and be honest about where they have been. Travelers are allowed to visit rural and farming areas in Bali as they had planned, such as visiting the rice fields, going to coffee plantations, and going on walks through rural villages.

Border officials are screening people for the biosecurity risk they pose after their visits so that they can sanitize and minimize the chance of the virus being carried into the country.

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