Review of importation of dogs and cats and their semen
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26 July 2012
This Biosecurity Advice invites stakeholders to provide comments on the Importation of dogs and cats and their semen from approved countries: draft policy review by 24 September 2012.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has conducted a review of biosecurity policy for the importation of dogs and cats (including semen). Biosecurity requirements for the importation of dogs and cats into Australia from approved countries that included rabies-affected countries were first established in November 1995 (Australian Quarantine Policy Memorandum 1995/68). Since that time an estimated 80 000 dogs and cats have been imported into Australia. Rabies virus is the most significant disease agent of biosecurity concern associated with the importation of dogs and cats. Under the current biosecurity policy, no dogs or cats imported from rabies-affected countries have been infected with rabies virus. This provides confidence that the current biosecurity measures for rabies virus, which include importation only from approved countries, rabies vaccination, confirmation of vaccine efficacy by post-vaccination serology and post-arrival quarantine (ranging from 30–120 days) are effective for preventing the entry, establishment and spread of rabies virus.
There is an increasing demand from pet owners, both those migrating to Australia with companion animals and those wishing to travel internationally with their companion animals, for a more streamlined and user-friendly biosecurity system for the importation of dogs and cats. The current duration of post-arrival quarantine is of particular concern to the majority of pet owners. The draft review takes into account current scientific information, international standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health, as well as relevant international experience in the management of biosecurity risks associated with the importation of dogs and cats.
Although rabies virus is recognised as the most significant disease agent of biosecurity concern associated with the importation of dogs and cats, the review also identified other disease agents of biosecurity concern, and reviewed the associated risk management procedures. Where appropriate, equivalent risk management requirements have been proposed to provide a more streamlined, user-friendly, biosecurity system for the importation of dogs and cats into Australia.
Key proposals of the draft policy review are:
- that the importation of dogs and cats should continue to be from approved countries
- an increased emphasis on off-shore management of rabies, including mandatory rabies vaccination and laboratory testing for all dogs and cats imported from any approved country (except New Zealand)
- removal of post-arrival quarantine requirements for rabies
- an increased emphasis on off-shore management of parasites of biosecurity concern through adoption of more rigorous pre-export treatment of both dogs and cats
- a minimum mandatory post-arrival quarantine period for dogs and cats of 10 days be adopted to address the risks of external parasites and associated vector-borne diseases.
The department invites comments on the technical aspects of the proposed risk management measures associated with the importation of dogs and cats. In particular, comments are sought on their appropriateness and any other measures stakeholders consider would provide equivalent risk management outcomes.
Comments on the review should be submitted by 24 September 2012 to:
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Telephone: +61 2 6272 4465
Facsimile: +61 2 6272 3399
All submissions received on the review will be carefully considered by Animal Biosecurity in finalising the review of existing policy.
Please pass this notice to other interested parties. If those parties wish to be included in future communications on this matter they should contact Animal Biosecurity.
Stakeholders are advised that, subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 1988, all submissions received in response to Biosecurity Advices will be publicly available and may be listed or referred to in any papers or reports prepared on the subject matter.
The Commonwealth reserves the right to reveal the identity of a respondent unless a request for anonymity accompanies the submission. Where a request for anonymity does not accompany the submission the respondent will be taken to have consented to the disclosure of his or her identity for the purposes of Information Privacy Principle 11 of the Privacy Act. The contents of the submission will only be treated as confidential if they are marked ‘confidential’ and they can be classified as such in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.
05 Sep 2012