Malaysia has become the second country to suspend live cattle exports from Australia due to fears of a lumpy skin disease outbreak.
Last week, Indonesia paused exports from four Australian facilities pending further testing of animals after a small number of exported cattle were detected with the disease.
Australia maintains it is free of the highly infectious disease, which could have a $7 billion impact on the economy if detected.
Nationals leader David Littleproud said he was confident Australia did not have any cases of the disease and animals had instead contracted it in Indonesia.
But he was concerned by the reputational damage already caused and Malaysia’s decision to pause all live cattle and buffalo imports from Australia.
“Our international reputation has been hard fought and we are disease-free (and) that disease-free status gives us a premium that needs to be protected,” he told Nine’s Today program on Thursday.
“It’s particularly countries like Vietnam, we need to make sure they have full confidence that we don’t have (the disease), otherwise we will pay an economic price and our producers will be at the forefront of that.”
Mr Littleproud urged the government to maintain open dialogue with Australia’s trading partners to reassure them the disease was not present.
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