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I have raised this fox scat importation issue on Tasmanian Times in April 2008, spoken to politicians of all colours ... and have the emails to prove it.

Time after time I have been given the impression that it was all too hard.

But for recent interest shown after the Stateline Programs there has generally been the old “too hard, don’t want to go there.”

Shortly after the Stateline program in which I raised the Hydatid problem and the likelihood of scats imported from the mainland containing the dreaded disease – previously there was absolutely no interest shown at all.

Certain Tasmanian Politicians have known about the fox scat importation issue since April 2008 but have chosen not to act.

Why?

Don’t want to upset the FEP program and the continuous flow of Federal largesse?

The Announcement

Rod Andrewartha - Chief Veterinary Officer

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Restrictions On Dog and Fox Scat Imports

Anyone wishing to bring fox or dog scats into Tasmania will require a permit from today.

Chief Veterinary Officer Rod Andrewartha said although there is little reason for scats to be imported, other than for use in trial work and detector dog training associated with the Fox Eradication Program, the permit requirement would further enhance biosecurity.

“The research and detector dog training by the Fox Eradication Program (FEP) has been carried out with good biosecurity practices and has not compromised Tasmania’s freedom from hydatid disease,” Dr Andrewartha said.

“Because of the measures the FEP has in place and the necessity for its work it will be able to continue under the permit system.

Dr Andrewartha said the permit requirement would further assist the State’s Quarantine Services who would continue to be on the lookout for fox and fox product.
   
“Hydatid is present in mainland states and hydatid eggs can be present in scats from foxes or dogs infected with hydatid tapeworms.

Dr Andrewartha said scats from the mainland posed only a small risk in terms of hydatid disease.

“The FED has continually sought advice from my office on biosecurity measures they should have in place while using scats sourced from the mainland as part of their training and evaluation programs.
       
Dr Andrewartha said the new restrictions included the requirement for a permit to possess a fox scat of mainland origin. 

“Fox scats of Tasmanian origin are specifically exempt from this new requirement so that anyone finding a possible fox scat should have no concern about reporting it to the Fox Eradication Program.

Anyone finding a possible fox scat in Tasmania should report it to the Fox Eradication Program Hotline on 1300 369 688.

“The new requirement does not apply to dog faeces in a cage or vehicle that is bringing a dog into Tasmania. Such a dog has to be treated for hydatid tapeworm and therefore its faeces is not a hydatid risk.

The Tasmanian Government and community undertook a successful campaign to eradicate hydatid disease over 30 years, from the mid 1960s through to the mid 1990s.

Tasmania is the only Australian state free of hydatid disease.

Hydatids is a parasitic infection of various animals that can infect humans caused by a small tapeworm which lives in the intestine of dogs and foxes.

The worm eggs are passed out in the faeces and may infect pasture which is then eaten by sheep, goats or cattle as they graze leading to development of hydatid cysts in these animals.

The cycle is completed by dogs or foxes eating the cysts in infected offal. 

Humans can become infected by picking up worm eggs from dogs. The hydatid cysts that may develop in people can cause serious health problems and in some cases have been fatal.

The Report:

Tassie’s fox poo loophole closed

BRUCE MOUNSTER   |  November 25, 2010 12.01am

TO patch up a quirky legal loophole, the State Government has been forced to issue permits to people who want to import dog or fox poo.

Chief Veterinary Officer Rod Andrewartha said people had little reason to import dog faeces, but the Fox Eradication Program needed fresh fox scats for training detector dogs.

The permit which came into force yesterday tightens a quarantine loophole through which the dreaded hydatid tapeworm could find its way back to Tasmania.

Windermere MLC Ivan Dean said yesterday’s announcement provided a partial answer to questions he had left on the Legislative Council notice paper eight weeks ago - asking if the taskforce had authorisation for more than 600 scats it had brought into Tasmania.

Read more HERE