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No foot mats as Sheepvention expo returns to Hamilton

Terry Sim, July 29, 2022

Merino rams at Sheepvention.

HAMILTON’S Sheepvention Rural Expo will go ahead this Sunday under an updated biosecurity plan that doesn’t include foot mats or segregating sheep from the public.

Reflecting concern about Foot and Mouth Disease risks, the Royal Queensland Show or Ecka, has decided to install foot mats and segregate the public from livestock at its annual show from 6-14 August.

And the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria is yet to rule on whether there will be any restriction on animals, or people/animal interaction, at the Royal Melbourne Show from 22 September to 2 October, although it dropped a petting zoo from this week’s launch event after Zoos Victoria cancelled paid public encounters with giraffe, kangaroo and elephants.

Sheepvention president Kathryn Robertson said the south-west Victorian event’s biosecurity plan has been reviewed and would be implemented consistent with Animal Health Australia’s biosecurity plan for agricultural shows.

“We’ve completed that, we’ve got a biosecurity kit for everybody and we’ve got biosecurity signs up.

“That does not include foot mats,” she said.

“We’re very comfortable our biosecurity is good.

“Foot and Mouth Disease is not in Australia and the likelihood of it getting into Australia has increased slightly since Bali, but we’ve reviewed the evidence and the likelihood and we’re comfortable with going ahead.”

Ms Roberston said advised farmers and all livestock exhibitors coming to Sheepvention to have their own biosecurity plan. This should include the foot-bathing of all sheep coming to Sheepvention as they leave the property and on their return, she said.

“We advise people to minimise interaction with animals and not interact with animals unless necessary and have clean footwear.

“If you have travelled overseas in the last 10 days don’t wear (to Sheepvention) the clothing or footwear that you have worn overseas,” she said.

“It’s against the law to swill feed animals and to feed animal products to ruminants so we encourage everyone to follow the law and also encourage people to have good biosecurity.

The usual biosecurity measures will be in place for the ram sale and sheep showing for brucellosis and Ovine Johne’s Disease, Ms Robertson said.

Livestock producers should adhere to their biosecurity plan

Agriculture Victoria Livestock Traceability Manager, Ben Fahy said any event where livestock, their owners/handlers and members of the public intermingle has the potential to lead to the spread of disease, if there is an infectious disease present.

“All animals attending shows in Victoria must have electronic National Livestock Identification System ear tags scanned.

“This ensures livestock can be easily traced if there is an emergency animal disease detected,” he said.

“Victoria’s system is delivering excellent traceability.

“The 2020 SAFEMEAT sheep traceability evaluation showed that electronically tagged sheep were 99 per cent traceable,” he said.

“Livestock owners should have, and adhere to, an on-farm biosecurity plan, which includes steps to take whenever livestock are introduced or reintroduced onto the property such as routinely disinfecting boots and other equipment that may have come into contact with other animals before stepping onto any property that has livestock, including their own, Mr Fahy said.

He said Agriculture Victoria has developed ‘blackbox technology’ to automatically capture livestock movements on and off a property and upload it to the NLIS database.

“This will result in in more effective and timely tracing in the event of an exotic animal disease outbreak, with no requirement for manual scanning at transit centres, depots or saleyards.”

Sheepvention opening on Sunday

The Sheepvention expo is returning after an enforced hiatus of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with new business and events manager Emmelie Ms Nijskens, Ms Robertson and newly appointed committee chairman, Will Kinghorn.

Landline presenter, Pip Courtney will officially open the Sheepvention Rural Expo on Sunday at 12.15pm. British breed sheep showing will be held on Sunday and Monday, with the Merino judging on Monday and Tuesday. There will be 13 breeds on show with Charollais sheep presented for the first time. Poll Dorsets are the feature breed. The sheep junior judging competition will commence on Tuesday at 10am.

The rural expo is returning with its other usual segments, including the Hamilton and District Sheep Show, the ram sale on Tuesday with a new section for groups of three rams. A feature of the ram sale will be a donated ram from the Montarna SheepMaster Stud at Yulecart to raise funds for Riding For The Disabled.

There will also be the wool handling competition, and the Coprice Victorian Farm Dog Championships from Sunday to Tuesday. The Innovations Hub, Producers Pavilion and trade exhibits will also be open for the three days.

Elders will announce the 2021/2022 Southern Clip of the Year finalists and winner in the Elders marquee on Monday at 10.45am. The 2021/20 and 2020/2019 winners will also be acknowledged. The guest speaker will be Elders chief financial officer Tania Foster.

Due to budgetary constraints, the popular fashion parades and Young Designer award will not be held this year. Ms Robertson said there will be children’s entertainment in the fashion pavilion. For more information click here.

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