Mickleham's menagerie stays busy over the holidays

A range of pets, both big and small, will call Australia home in 2024 as they move through post-entry quarantine in the new year.

More than 6000 pets go through quarantine in Australia every year, as part of the country’s robust biosecurity system.

Five llamas are among the unusual menagerie who have booked a summer holiday at the Post Entry Quarantine Facility in Mickleham, just outside of Melbourne.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the unusual pets would arrive in Australia from the USA this month.

“Every year, we protect our agriculture, environment and way of life with our animal quarantine system,” Minister Watt said.

“Animals that are permitted into Australia, like dogs, cats, horses and even camelids, must meet all import conditions and undergo a period of quarantine isolation on arrival at our Post Entry Quarantine Facility (PEQ).

“There, they’re looked after by our dedicated staff, who always go above and beyond to provide the best possible care to their charges while they stay at PEQ.

“These animals are monitored for illness, get tested for exotic diseases, and attended to by vets and biosecurity officers during their stay.

“PEQ is the only biosecurity facility in Australia where camelids – which includes camels, alpacas and llamas – can quarantine.

“We’re also getting ready to celebrate a first at PEQ, as fertilised duck eggs are due to arrive at Mickleham for the very first time.

“The eggs will be incubated at Mickleham, and when they hatch, the ducklings will stay in quarantine within the high containment unit at PEQ for a further 9 weeks.

"If they meet all the import permit conditions in that time, they will be able to go to their new home in Australia.

“When we’re dealing with poultry imports, the greatest risk is from avian influenza, so we take every precaution to keep this potentially deadly disease from our shores.

"That importers are able to bring fertilised eggs into Australia while still maintaining the highest possible standards of biosecurity is a win for our poultry industry.”

The PEQ Mickleham remained fully open for business all through the Christmas and New Year period, with biosecurity staff celebrating Christmas day with more than 200 dogs and 140 cats onsite at the PEQ.

A number of excited owners were also able to collect their pets on Christmas morning, following completion of the mandatory quarantine period.

The decision to extend the PEQ Mickleham’s opening hours to cover the traditional Christmas shutdown meant more horses are able to undertake their minimum 14 days of quarantine.

Nearly 200 horses will quarantine over December and January, including from Singapore, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

For more information visit www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/cats-dogs/quarantine-facilities-and-fees/our-facility.