In August 2023, the NSW Department of Agriculture conducted a trial to inoculate cattle with mRNA vaccines in an attempt to prevent the spread of lumpy skin disease and foot and mouth disease. However, a news article published by the Epoch Times, written by Isabella Rayner, claimed that no mRNA vaccine tests have been conducted on Australian cattle, alleging the dissemination of fake news by the federal department. It is important to note that this claim is false.
The NSW Nationals, a political group in Australia, released a media statement on February 23, 2023, affirming their commitment to developing mRNA vaccines for livestock diseases. The statement highlighted that sheep were already being administered a trial mRNA vaccine for Border Disease at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole set an ambitious deadline of August 2023 to develop mRNA vaccines for Foot and Mouth (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease.
The intention behind these endeavors was to protect Australia’s livestock industry from the devastating consequences of disease outbreaks. The government aimed to arm producers with mRNA vaccines that could potentially restore market access and return the industry to freedom status much sooner, in the event of an incursion.
The Nationals’ Minister for Agriculture, Dugald Saunders, emphasized the importance of biosecurity measures in safeguarding the industry against potential disease outbreaks. The government had allocated a significant investment of $229 million for biosecurity measures that financial year, making it the largest investment from a single jurisdiction in Australia. In collaboration with a US biotech company called Tiba Biotech, the NSW Government was at the forefront of developing these vaccines.
Tiba Biotech co-founder, Peter McGrath, expressed pride in working with the government, industry, and researchers to protect Australia’s $28.7 billion livestock industry. The partnership aimed to provide advanced vaccine expertise and technology to combat potential biosecurity incursions that could harm the state’s economy.
Contrary to claims made in the Epoch Times article, there is evidence of ongoing trials and investments in mRNA vaccines for livestock in Australia. The misinformation propagated in the article undermines the efforts of the NSW Nationals and the government to protect the livestock industry from infectious diseases.
It is crucial not to believe dubious claims without proper verification. Misinformation can have detrimental effects, especially when it comes to public health and biosecurity. The federal Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, as a solicitor, is well aware of the penalties for disseminating false information on such critical matters.
In conclusion, the NSW Department of Agriculture conducted mRNA vaccine trials on cattle in August 2023 with the aim of preventing lumpy skin disease and foot and mouth disease. The Epoch Times article’s claims of no mRNA vaccine tests on Australian cattle are baseless and misleading. The NSW Nationals and the government have actively invested in developing mRNA vaccines for livestock diseases to protect Australia’s livestock industry.