Insight – Russia and Thailand issue temporary bans on imports of live cattle, buffalo and their products
Russia and Thailand have issued temporary bans on imports of live cattle, buffalo and their products due to the spread of lumpy skin disease virus.
Temporary bans in place in Thailand and Russia
The detection of exotic animal diseases, such as lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), can have substantial trade implications for newly infected countries. Countries may impose trade bans or additional requirements on commodities to protect their herds from LSDV.
Thailand issued a temporary ban on imports of cattle and buffalo products from Myanmar due to LSDV spread in May 2021, according to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) notifications from the World Trade Organization.
Russia similarly issued temporary bans on imports of cattle and cattle products from Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam in April and May 2021.
Figure 1 provides a geographical representation of these SPS notifications, and LSDV notifications to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) since January 2021.
Outside of SPS notifications, media outlets have reported that countries such as Malaysia, Laos and Cambodia have imposed restrictions on cattle movement to reduce the spread of LSDV. This may disrupt trade in live cattle, buffalo and their products in the Asia-Pacific region.
Figure 1: SPS notifications due to LSDV spread since January 2021
What is lumpy skin disease virus?
LSDV is a viral disease that affects domestic cattle and water buffalo. It is primarily spread by biting insects but can also be spread through direct animal-to-animal contact. According to the OIE, LSDV does not infect humans.
LSDV can lead to substantial economic losses in affected farms. Up to 40% of infected cattle may die during an outbreak. Infected cattle are also substantially less productive due to loss of condition, decreased milk production, abortions, infertility and damaged hides.
LSDV was first reported in the Asia-Pacific region in August 2019 in northwest China, Bangladesh and India. Since then, it has been reported in Taiwan, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand.
Australia is free from LSDV.
What exporters should do
Australia’s LSDV-free status means trade restrictions designed to prevent LSDV spread should not apply to exports of Australian live cattle, buffalo and their products. This may result in an increased demand for Australian produce as markets traditionally supplied by LSDV-affected countries seek alternative suppliers.
Exporters are advised to monitor the changing movements of LSDV-impacted commodities through the Asia-Pacific region. Australia’s animal health status may provide opportunities for trading into these markets.
Additional information about LSDV outbreaks in the Asia-Pacific region is available on the World Organisation for Animal Health’s Information System.
A qualitative risk assessment was conducted in 2020 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations to identify potential pathways for LSDV spread through South, East and Southeast Asia.
This article is based on information provided by the Australian Government’s network of Agriculture Counsellors. Additional information about the Agriculture Counsellor network, including contact details, are available on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website.