CLEVER canines are on the front line defending Australia from unwanted nasties that have the potential to harm vital Australian exports.
Agriculture minister David Littleproud this week praised the work of not only the nation’s biosecurity officers but also its detector dogs.
A statement from the minister said dogs and officers helped stop some 340,000 potential biosecurity breaches during 2017 including 120,000 at Sydney Airport.
According to the minister, Australia’s detector dog teams typically intercept more than 50,000 biosecurity risk items across Australia a year.
In 2017 these included duck tongues, chicken feet, cooked eggs, barbecued rat, lizards’ feet and skinned frogs.
“Any one of the intercepted items could be carrying deadly pests or diseases which could decimate Australian farming and our environment – or carry a disease affecting humans,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Agriculture, fisheries and forestry employ more than 300,000 Australians, pump $63bn to our economy and supply 93% of our domestic food according to the NFF, so it’s worth protecting.”
Mr Littleproud said the government had delivered up to $200m over four years to strengthen Australia’s biosecurity system through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.
According to the minister’s office:
- ABARES estimates Australia’s biosecurity system saves farmers up to $17,500 per farm per year;
- In 2017, a total of around 340,000 biosecurity risk items were intercepted across Australia’s seaports, international airports and mail centres.