COVID-19 and foot and mouth disease have become the go-to excuses for everything at the moment.
Delays in getting your new parts? Staff had COVID-19.
Cattle market crashing? FMD fear has kicked in.
Lettuce prices surging? Oh wait, that wasn't COVID-19 this time.
The current news cycle has quickly shifted from the horrors of COVID-19 to the scarily close proximity of FMD to Australia.
People have been quick to point a finger at the media for creating hysteria surrounding this potentially catastrophic threat.
Let's be clear, there is an 11.6 per cent chance of FMD reaching Australia in the next five years.
That's an 88.4pc chance it won't ever make it to our shores.
Imagine if we are still FMD free in a few months time? Or even a year?
Will those same critical people recognise that perhaps the media's reporting on the issue created an awareness program that helped, rather than hindered the industry?
I've seen reality TV stars who are nestled in the skyscrapers of Sydney tell their huge social media following why they should throw out their shoes when they return from a Bali holiday.
Chart-topping podcasts have even dedicated episodes to explain the disease and the repercussions if it enters the country.
There is no place for fake news and sensationalism, but at the very least, the accurate stories that are being published on FMD have left farmers and the wider public far more educated on this topic.
They know the importance of a biosecurity plan, the health of their livestock and who to turn to if the worst was to happen.
Why don't we vaccinate livestock now? What compensation will I get if my herd has to be destroyed?
All those questions were answered on ACM Ag websites last week.
And just like COVID, everybody is aware of the importance of personal hygiene and the role we can all play, together, to overcome a crisis sooner, rather than later.
So the next time you consider finding an excuse for the threats and crisis facing our world every day, consider the full story first.
We can't eliminate COVID-19 or FMD, but we can work hard, together to ensure any significant impacts are avoided.
- Lucy Kinbacher, North Queensland Register editor.
Talk of the Town is a weekly opinion piece written by ACM journalists. The thoughts expressed are their own.
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