Malaysia pauses live cattle, buffalo imports from Australia

Malaysia has paused the import of all live cattle and buffalo from Australia. It has expressed concern about lumpy skin disease (LSD). In July Indonesia halted live cattle imports from four locations in Australia after 13 cattle were found to have the disease.

Australia responded last month that there was no Lumpy Skin Disease in Australia, and in the light of the Malaysian statement, Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer Mark Schipp said that Australia was engaging urgently with its Malaysian counterparts to advise that LSD was not present in Australia.

“I have made representations to my Malaysian counterpart, requesting the import restriction on live cattle and buffalo from Australia be lifted without delay. I have also confirmed to the World Organisation for Animal Health that Australia remains LSD-free in accordance with international standards.”

Schipp said that Australian livestock products continued to be traded, and the detection of LSD in cattle of Australian-origin post arrival in Indonesia did not affect the animal health status of Australia.

LSD is a viral disease of cattle and buffalo that is transmitted by insects. While highly contagious among cattle, it does pose any danger to humans.

The Australian veterinary association Vets Against Live Export (VALE) has said that live exports from Australia could be a factor. It noted that it raised the biosecurity risk of live export ships from Indonesia in July 2022. “Initially this was rejected, but later it was conceded by the West Australian Department of Agriculture (Australian Veterinary Association Albany Conference Sept 2022) that returning ships were a biosecurity risk for foot and mouth disease. It seems that ships could carry LSD vectors also,” claimed a blog on the VALE website. “The bottom line is that the risk to Australia’s non-exporting livestock producers and Australia’s much more profitable export beef trade matters less than the northern live export trade.”