November 18, 2022
This review will likely impact the import of dogs and cats into Australia for the next decade. It is important that a constructive debate is had on the topic and that all stakeholders (Australian or otherwise) who may be affected by these changes now or at some time in the future, provide feedback to the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
In 2013 the DAFF implemented recommendations made in their own review to reduce quarantine times for pets arriving from overseas (other than New Zealand, Norfolk Island and Cocos Islands) from 30 days to 10 days. These changes were seen as progress by many veterinarians in Australia. However, many believed more could be done with the incorporation of current technologies to mitigate the necessity for animals to spend any time in quarantine.
There are two key changes being recommended, Quarantine for pets coming from Group 3 Countries to be returned back to 30 days and Non-Approved Countries pathway to be removed completely. The main reasons for these changes is stated as being due to:
*It should be noted that this concern is based on EU imports and that no cases of fraudulent imports have been reported in Australia, this would be expected due to the strict nature of the Australian system.
The increase in demand at the quarantine facilities is not related to the individual risk of pet import, but rather risk associated with an overstretched system and simply mitigated with an increase in capacity.
With fraudulent documents in mind, it should be pertinent that a review looks at mitigating the risk of fraudulent documentation being used to import pets into Australia. Increasing the quarantine times to 30 days still puts Australia at risk if it is conceded that fake documents can be used to import pets.
Australia is very different to the EU in how they deal with pet imports with the Australian system being far more stringent. It is quite possible to take a dog into the EU without having any documents checked or the dog's microchip scanned. This is not at all possible in Australia and so the EU system and its inadequacies should not be used as a comparison. However, there is always room for improvement, which if implemented properly could allow quarantine times to be reduced to zero. The use of DNA sampling, in conjunction with microchip readings, could unambiguously identify the dog at significant steps, including each of the titration blood tests and the internal parasite tests. These blood tests could then be compared to bloods taken on entry to Australia.
In my opinion this review should have been used as an opportunity for progress in quarantine practices in Australia, but in fact it would seem that an agenda was sought after at the outset. Little discussion was given on why DNA testing was not considered, a method that would surely mitigate any risk of fraudulent documentation. The limitations of the current quarantine facilities is not a reason to increase quarantine time but rather a reason to look at how to reduce the need for days spent in quarantine while at the same time bolstering capacity.
If this review seems cruel and unnecessary to you, please follow the link and provide feedback. The more people who act and provide meaningful comments and suggestions the more likely the message will get through.Have Your Say
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