Malaysia lifts ban on Australian cattle imports after disease fears eased

Australia welcomes announcement as officials say country remains free of lumpy skin disease.

Malaysia last month announced a pause of imports of live cattle from Australia [File: Binsar Sakkara/AP]

Malaysia has lifted a ban on live cattle and buffalo imports from Australia introduced as a precaution against an infectious disease that can be fatal to livestock.

Malaysian authorities lifted the ban after receiving an investigation report from Australia and discussions between the two countries, the Department of Veterinary Services said on Wednesday.

Kuala Lumpur suspended imports last month after a small number of Australian cattle shipped to neighbouring Indonesia were found to have lumpy skin disease (LSD).

Indonesian authorities said they had detected positive LSD cases in 13 cattle from Australia over several months from May and moved to suspend imports from four facilities.

Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry welcomed Malaysia’s announcement.

“It’s a result of a well-coordinated whole-of-government effort, led by the department’s technical and trade officials who helped gather the extensive evidence base that led to this determination,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

“There is no cause for concern for Australian cattle producers as Australia remains LSD-free,” it added. “Australia continues to trade livestock products internationally, including live cattle to Indonesia.”

LSD, which is transmitted by insect bites, does not pose a risk to humans, but can hamper milk production and cause sterility and death in cattle.

Malaysia imports cattle and buffalo from Australia worth about $5.5m each year.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies