Animal biosecurity

What is animal biosecurity?

Animal biosecurity is all about protecting the economy, human health and the environment from problems associated with pests and diseases of animals and residues in animal products.

NSW DPI and Local Land Services are partners in the delivery of animal biosecurity. They work with animal owners, animal industries, communities and other stakeholders to keep NSW animals and animal products healthy and safe.

The NSW Animal Biosecurity and Welfare Strategic Plan 2015-2018 guides priority activities to safeguard the NSW economy, environment and community from diseases and pests that affect animals, as well as improve animal welfare outcomes.

Zoonoses are animal diseases that are transmissible to humans. About 75% of emerging human infectious diseases are thought to have come from animals, including wildlife. People in close contact with animals or animal products are most at risk of these infections. This includes veterinarians, farmers, abattoir workers, shearers, wildlife carers and, of course, pet owners.

Visit the zoonoses page for more information.

Some diseases of wildlife and feral animals can infect domestic animals and humans. For example, bats can carry Hendra virus, which can cause a fatal disease in horses that can, in turn, infect humans. Wild water birds can be a reservoir for infection for avian influenza ('bird flu'). Visit the biosecurity, wildlife and feral animals page for more information on pests and disease of wild animals.

Vets are a crucial link in the biosecurity chain. They collect surveillance information, give expert biosecurity advice to livestock owners and industries and provide a vital front-line resource in the fight against important animal pests and disease. The veterinary practitioner page gives practitioners up-to-date information on animal biosecurity.

Livestock producers and animal owners are in the best position to protect their own animals, and those of their neighbours and the wider livestock industries, by adopting good biosecurity practices.

Simple measures such as:

  • checking your own animals regularly and reporting anything unusual;
  • introducing only healthy animals and initially isolating them from your own stock;
  • taking care when agisting; and
  • keeping fences secure;

are all good biosecurity practices.

The NSW DPI livestock page provides producers with information about topics such as:

  • enterprise management
  • health and disease
  • livestock movements
  • animal welfare.

Reporting animal biosecurity emergencies

Some animal pests and diseases, or residues in animal products or stock feed can have serious consequences for trade, production or human health.  By remaining vigilant and acting quickly if you suspect a significant animal pest, disease, or residue you may be able to prevent these consequences. Don’t delay! Contact Local Land Services or ring the 24 hour hotline: Animal Biosecurity Emergency Hotline 1800 675 888.

If you have a particular query or comment, please email the NSW DPI's Biosecurity Branch on biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au