The Australian Bio Safety Dog Unit has been improved over the years, and the dogs are currently involved in experiments to identify specific cargo pests and screen for COVID-19 passengers.
According to Andrew Metcalf Ao, secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and Australia’s biotechnology director, the dogs continue to be an integral part of Australia’s biological safety front.
“Significant changes have been made in the way dogs are selected, trained, and deployed, and this has helped us to control bio-safety risks,” said Mr McElfe.
“Initially, our dogs were selected from pound and private breeders and only went to airports to check on passengers.
“We are now selecting dogs from the Australian Border Patrol (AFF) Dog Breeding Program, which has been instrumental in identifying roles and has helped us deploy dogs to airports, post offices and ports.
Improves the success rate of dogs selected for work We have partnered with researchers to ensure that the best dogs are selected for the job.
Andrew Tong, head of bio safety and compliance at the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, said the dogs are now being trained to fight pests and diseases.
“Our detective dogs are being used for new and innovative purposes – which will help control the biological risk posed by certain pests,” Mr Tong said.
“We now have dogs in Brisbane and Perth to identify imported cargo to identify the brown marmored fragrance (BMSB), which is a major threat to the Australian fruit and vegetable industry.
There is still some work in this area, but the first signs are good, and we will try to expand this to other states in the future.
More recently, test dogs have been part of a feasibility study of COVID-19 on their ability to detect COVID-19 in body odor.
“This project is being run at Adelaide Airport by ABF in collaboration with the Department, Adelaide University and the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service.
All of this, in addition to their regular routine, sees tens of thousands of dangerous objects passing through airports and post offices each year.
We are excited to see what happens to our detectives dogs and will continue to look for ways to strengthen our front line defense and use their skills to prevent bio-safety threats.