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Biosecurity in Rogaining

Biosecurity in Rogaining  Information for all Rogainers

[July 2018]

Rogaining has always had a keen interest in the farmland and forest that we use for our sport including an acute awareness that we want to leave areas as we found them. We have also adopted an educational role with our members over the decades encouraging Rogainers to understand the countryside and be aware of any issues that our usage might pose.

In 2018 some industry trends meant it was timely to review our practices so that we do not cause significant damage nor generate any concern in rural communities, and so that we can continue to access a variety of terrains for Rogaining.

Australia has always been aware of biosecurity risks to its important agricultural industry and outdoor way of life. Today, our domestic and export markets are working towards the lifetime tracking of livestock, and hence requiring more documentation and control by owners who wish to sell their animals at market. One hundred Rogainers walking across farmland and forest can pose real or perceived risks that might jeopardise the viability of agricultural enterprises and our sport. With ever-increasing international travel by Rogainers, we are familiar with the rigorous quarantine checks applied as we visit New Zealand or re-enter Australia. Because we visit more than just the cities when we travel overseas, the biosecurity risks that we might pose are different from that of ordinary tourists.

Risks during local travel can involve fauna or flora, and might mean destructive insects, invasive plants, or diseases. The means of introduction can be by infected dirt on shoes or clothing or camping gear, seeds in clothing especially shoes or animal or plant matter wrapped accidently in tents.

Specific risks with relationship to Rogaining (recognising that there are additional exotic risks already managed by Australian Quarantine) include anthrax, footrot, fire ants, Johne’s disease, serrated tussock, other plant diseases, weed seeds, bovine viral diarrhoea and caprine arthritis encephalitis.

Procedures at Rogaine events to mitigate risk.

  • Some areas of our maps are marked out of bounds due to increased biosecurity risks in that area. Never enter an out of bounds area.
  • Cleaning and dry your equipment (recommend drying for at least 48 hours and in sunlight) is sufficient to prevent spread of most diseases and seeds. Anthrax spores are more stubborn and require disinfection in a boot bath.  Most animal diseases can spread in organic material such as mud on boots or other equipment.
  • Checks that shoes, gaiters and socks are free of seeds as an event process at Registration the same as we have check for years that teams have mandatory equipment such as compass, whistle and first aid kits.
  • Boot baths may be used at some events and there are proper procedures for effective use of a boot bath – appropriate concentration of chemical, step both feet in, remain in for a few seconds, replenish chemicals once the bath gets dirty.
  • Reminder upon event completion to clean clothing and vehicles of seeds and dirt. Like they need to be cleaned to return through customs.
  • Enforcement of the rules of no cats or dogs at the Hash House or on course.

The message for all Rogainers to understand is:

  • Clean & dry gear including tents, socks, gaiters and boots;
  • Clean vehicles of mud from other locations and potential of seeds especially in foot wells and boot/luggage areas;
  • No pets at the Hash House or on course.
  • If you have been to a high risk area as identified by customs checks take additional cleaning and disinfection precautions.
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