Australian cattle likely infected with skin disease at home, Indonesia says

Australia claims to be LSD free
calendar icon 2 August 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Live cattle imported from Australia by major buyer Indonesia were likely infected with lumpy skin disease (LSD) at home, an Indonesian official said on Tuesday, as the Asian nation put imports from four Australian facilities on hold, reported Reuters.

Bambang, head of Indonesia's Agriculture Quarantine Agency who goes by one name, said 13 cattle tested positive for LSD immediately upon arrival between May and July from eight separate vessels.

Some of the cows had lumps on their skin, indicating they had been infected prior to their arrival in Indonesia, he told a news conference. In addition to blisters, the highly infectious virus LSD also reduces milk production.

"The journey from Australia took about a week at most. With the 28-day incubation period, we really believe (the LSD) could potentially have originated there," Bambang said.

Australia says it is LSD free, and its chief veterinary officer has said the infections were not unexpected, given the presence of LSD in Indonesia. Indonesia is still importing live cattle from other facilities, the Australian agriculture minister has said.

Bambang said LSD has been found in cattle farms in Indonesia's Sumatra and Java islands. An Australian investigation into the matter will conclude in September, he added.

Indonesia bought about 56% of Australia's total live cattle exports in 2021–22, data showed, in deals worth about A$900 million ($600 million).

Based on Indonesian data, more than 303,000 live cattle were imported from Australia last year, while imports so far this year exceeded 153,000 cattle.

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