News

No animals at Melbourne Royal Show launch event

Terry Sim, July 27, 2022

Will FMD concerns mean no animals at the 2022 Royal Melbourne Show?

NO animals will be present at the Melbourne Royal’s 2022 show launch event tomorrow, in the wake of Zoos Victoria restricting public access to some animal exhibits to limit any potential associated Foot and Mouth Disease risk.

However, the show is yet to rule on whether there will be any restriction on animals, or people/animal interaction at the show from 22 September to 2 October.

The show organisers had intended to have a petting zoo at the launch event, but Sheep Central has been told this was dropped.

Zoos Victoria chief executive officer Dr Jenny Gray yesterday said upcoming paid encounters with giraffe, kangaroo and elephants have been cancelled and will be automatically refunded.

“Over the past week, Zoos Victoria’s veterinarians have liaised with biosecurity officers from state and federal governments, and the Zoo and Aquarium Association, to consider the animal health risks associated with the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia.

“We are exercising an abundance of caution to ensure the animals in our care remain as safe as possible, so upcoming paid encounters with giraffe, kangaroo and elephants have been cancelled and will be automatically refunded,” she said.

“We are reviewing the situation and our containment measures on a daily basis.

“Any further information about the disease can be directed to the Department of Agriculture or Chief Veterinarians Office,” Dr Gray said.

The decision will relevant animal exhibits at Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Zoos Victoria also said visitors participating in the paid encounters only ever give animals zoo-provided food under the guidance of staff if food is given at all.

After the Zoos Victoria development, Melbourne Royal president and Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria president Matt Coleman said the health and wellbeing of all animals at the Melbourne Royal Show is our absolute priority.

“Melbourne Royal has always held high biosecurity standards for all on site and this year will be no exception.

“We will continue to adhere to the advice of the State and Federal Government and Chief Veterinary Officer to ensure the safety of animals and exhibitors at the Melbourne Royal Show during this rapidly evolving situation,” he said.

“There are currently no reported outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in Australia and advice from industry experts suggested the risk of transmission remains low.

“Following the guidelines released by Animal Health Australia (AHA) today, we are currently working with relevant bodies and the broader Show community to review biosecurity protocols to help ensure our animals are as safe as possible,” he said.

“Our goal remains to keep FMD out of Australia, not the just the show.”

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