New Zealand strengthens border protections against foot-and-mouth disease

Band Lucy Craymer

WELLINGTON, July 21 (Reuters)New Zealand said on Wednesday night it had stepped up measures to prevent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) from entering the country after the disease was recently discovered in the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali.

“With the newly discovered foot-and-mouth disease in the tourist hotspot of Bali, we have taken concrete steps to strengthen our work at the border in recent weeks, including a public awareness campaign,” said the Minister of Biosecurity and Protection. ‘Farming, Damien O’Connor.

“I call on everyone to be vigilant and play their part in protecting New Zealand’s economic security,” he said.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious virus that affects cloven-hoofed animals. A virus outbreak in New Zealand would severely impact key dairy, red meat and pork exports for months or even years, according to the Department of Primary Industries.

Biosecurity New Zealand this week introduced floor mats with disinfectant chemicals for arrivals from Indonesia to ensure shoes are virus-free. A campaign has been launched to educate travelers to Bali about the issues. There is a field audit of the palm kernel supply chain for animal feed. And New Zealand is providing equipment to Indonesia to help contain the virus there.

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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