A Bathurst farmer has painted a grim picture of the fallout if foot and mouth disease was to take hold in Australia.
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On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that viral fragments of the disease had been discovered in pork products for sale in the Melbourne CBD.
The discovery was made during routine retail exercises, and the products - which were imported from China - have since been seized from several supermarkets and a Melbourne warehouse.
There is also concern about foot and mouth disease being on Australia's doorstep at Bali.
NSW Farmers Association Bathurst branch president David McKay, who is based at Evans Plains, said an outbreak of the disease would "cripple the livestock industry".
"There'd be a mass slaughter of animals if they got infected," he said.
"You can only see what happened in England a while back [over six million cows were euthanised in 2001]. It would be absolutely devastating for the Bathurst community and the rest of Australia.
"The main thing is they have to stop it getting in, with baggage searches and making sure everyone is sanitised properly.
"It's an $80 billion industry that would be destroyed if it took hold and it would be years before we get cleared.
"And then you'll always have the stigma of having it. It's not a really good thought. It would be the worst thing to happen."
Currently, there is no treatment for foot and mouth disease, so experts say it's crucial that proper biosecurity measures are in place to contain the spread of the disease.
"Any places that are infected, the livestock would have to be killed and burned," Mr McKay said.
"There'll be biosecurity everywhere. No-one would be able to go to places where it's at, unless they have bio-clothing and that sort of thing.
"It's not a pretty picture. It's something we've always dreaded happening for a long, long time. It's coming really close now."
While foot and mouth disease would have a devastating impact on the livestock industry, it would also severely affect bloodline quality.
"It would really put us back a long time," Mr McKay said.
"Imagine all the bloodline of stock being destroyed and having to breed it back up. It's bad enough working our way through the drought."
Biosecurity measures continue to be ramped up in response to the threat of the disease.
The latest move is to roll out sanitised foot mats to all Australian international airports to service flights returning from Indonesia.
The foot mats follow several biosecurity announcements, including $9 million for more biosecurity officers in airports and mailing centres, $5 million to support the biosecurity systems of Indonesia, East Timor and Papua New Guinea and $1 million for vaccines in Indonesia.
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