ANPA President Bob Grant and Secretary Alan Strachan today sent a submission to the Federal Government on behalf of members seeking the fast tracking of PMV1 vaccine to Australia from overseas. It is published here.
Senator the Honourable Joe Ludwig
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery
Dear Senator Ludwig
We write to you to express our view around the discussion at the moment on the pigeon paramyxovirus situation currently in Victoria and the push for the fast tracking of the appropriate vaccine from overseas.
The Australian National Pigeon Association Incorporated (ANPA Inc) is the national organisation and governing body for the Fancy pigeon fraternity within Australia . It currently has a national framework and represents 350 individual members and a further 1000 members through affiliations .We have been in place for almost 30 years and have been instrumental in dealing with government agencies and authorities over the years, taking a leading role in quarantine and biosecurity matters including the initial negotiations around the reintroduction of importation of pigeons into Australia in 1990. We have a strong and stable position within the pigeon hobby and wish to provide you with our current position on the matter of vaccines mentioned above.
ANPA has a very good grasp on the situation currently and certainly takes a national perspective on this and many subjects for the fancy fraternity. Our web site has been abreast of the key issues from day one on this PMV1 outbreak. We are sure you are now well aware that the current outbreak of paramyxovirus is an extremely deadly virus with the potential to have a devastating impact on pigeons both fancy and racing in Australia. The impact of this disease thus far has been serious and the introduction of disease by vaccinating their flocks if this disease is not contained in the present Victorian outbreak.
Current Australian laws do not allow the importation of inactivated pigeon PMV1 vaccine (Colombovac in Europe) which is the vaccine used elsewhere around the world to effectively prevent the disease. The current situation in Victoria may have been contained but there is a significant risk of future outbreaks and the potentially devastating effects of the disease on the hobby which we think warrant the fast track importation of the vaccine. We also believe there needs to a strategy in place before another outbreak occurs and as such ask that the Australian government fast tracks the process for this to occur to allow pigeon fanciers to protect their birds.
We also believe and point out that part of those strict guidelines should see the appropriate vaccine not given out generally but rather supplied via restriction and only after it is deemed that this disease can’t be stopped.
There are also issues that arise from within our hobby on release of pmv1 vaccine for our association across Australia and these impacts need to be considered in any action. They include:
• The effects of cost associated with vaccinating our flocks
• The potential loss of some minor breeds and impacts on the diversity of breeds where it would become necessary to vaccinate “feeder” stock
• The affect it will have on areas and states where no vaccination may occur or where no disease exists
• The impacts that routine vaccination will have on general, non club fancy pigeon breeders or casual breeders
• Impacts that potential loss of fanciers who will not want to vaccinate will have on local clubs
• The “masking” effect that may occur in pigeon populations once a routine vaccination program is initiated
• The dynamics that will be created by compartmentalising release of vaccines within Australia to general racing and showing of pigeons at National events
There are many and diverse questions that will arise from any introduction of a vaccination program. It will be a complex and require significant management to avoid problems arising from within the broader pigeon fancy across Australia
None the less, in conclusion, the Australian National Pigeon Association does support the fast tracking of the process that will allow the importation of the appropriate dead cell, inactivated vaccine from overseas but also supports the strict, prescribed release under license only once the disease is deemed unstoppable.