KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia has temporarily suspended live cattle and buffalo imports from Australia, officials said Friday, after neighbouring Indonesia said cattle infected with lumpy skin disease (LSD) had arrived from the country.
LSD is an infectious viral disease that causes a reduction in milk production, temporary or permanent sterility, and sometimes death of cattle but poses no risk to humans.
Indonesian authorities said last week that they had detected positive LSD cases in 13 cattle from Australia over several months from May, and moved to suspend imports from four facilities.
While that was a partial ban, Malaysia has since moved to impose an outright suspension, officials said.
"The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has confirmed that it has issued an order suspending the import of live cattle and buffalo from Australia on 4 August 2023," it said in a statement.
The veterinary department said it had confirmation of the Indonesian discovery of LSD in cattle imported from Australia from authorities in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.
"This suspension action is temporary and taken as a precautionary measure," it said.
But Australia's chief veterinary officer Mark Schipp on Wednesday said LSD has never been detected in Australia, and the country remains free from the disease.
Malaysia imports cattle and buffalo from Australia worth around $5.5 million every year.
Malaysia's DVS said that it held an "engagement session" with the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) on August 7.
Australia's DAFF "agreed to share the report of the investigation related to the allegations from the Indonesian side", DVS said.
"As such, DVS is awaiting a full report from DAFF for further action."
Indonesia is Australia's largest market for live cattle, and imported more than 300,000 cows from the country last year, as well as 153,000 so far this year. - AFP