Bali Senator Tjokorda Gede Agung has urged the provincial government to write to the Australian Consulate-General regarding Senator Pauline Hanson’s comments this week about Bali’s response to the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Hanson suggested that Bali’s cows are free to wander in the street and defecate in areas where the public walk.
The statements have already been condemned by Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Sandiaga Uno in an Instagram post. Now senators in Bali are urging the local government to take formal action to prevent any damage to Bali’s fragile tourism economy.
Agung told the house of representatives on Tuesday afternoon ‘The Bali Provincial Government must write to the Australian Consulate to clarify the Australian Senator’s statement. Because this is related to the image of Bali, especially ahead of the G20 Summit (High-Level Conference) in Bali’.
Agung went on to explain how Hanson’s statements had ‘trampled’ on Bali’s public image. He noted that her comments were not based on data or facts. He said that at the very least there should be a formal public apology.
The provincial government also heard from Bali Province Foot and Mouth Disease Handling Task Force, Dewa Made Indra, who said that the disease outbreak was under control. According to Nusa Bali, Indra said that Bali is no longer experiencing foot and mouth disease since there are no newly detected cases. He did not state whether or not testing for foot and mouth disease in all potentially affected animals has stopped.
He gave an update on the vaccination efforts for cattle in Bali. He said ‘Currently, vaccination has reached 20.12 percent of the existing population’. Indra also stated that despite cattle in Bali being culled as a precaution, many farmers are yet to receive their compensation.
He said ‘We appreciate the performance of the Bali Provincial Task Force. We hope that the center will immediately disburse compensation for the conditional slaughter of cattle for breeders in Bali’.
Compensation is essential for farmers to continue to take foot and mouth disease seriously. Farmers in Bali are heavily reliant on their livestock for their income. If the government is slow to release compensation for culled animals, farmers may become reluctant to report potential cases moving forward. Indra confirmed that the movement of livestock in Bali remains prohibited and that the animal marker remains closed while vaccination efforts are intensified.
Pauline Hanson’s accusations of Bali’s streets being covered in cow dung have been widely criticized online. The controversial Australian political figure is no stranger to making outlandish comments in parliament but officials in Indonesia want her to be held to account.
In her speech, Hanson said ‘Bali is not like other countries…cattle sh*t on the ground, people walk in that sh*t, that sh*t is then bought back on their clothing and on their person and back into this country’. People online were quick to set her straight, including the Minister for Tourism and Creative Industries Sandiaga Uno.
Minister Uno posted on Instagram a comedy skit from an Indonesian-Australian digital creator who made a video mocking Hanson’s statements. Minister Uno told Hanson in his caption to ‘not disturb the calm, let alone our economic recovery with untrue speech’.
Authorities in Bali is concerned that people will believe Hanson’s statements as the truth and that this will have a negative effect on Bali’s tourism economy. Both Bali airport and airports across Australia have put biosecurity measures in place to help prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease to Australia.
Travelers to Bali do not need to adjust their plans due to foot and mouth disease. Travelers are allowed to visit rural and agricultural areas in Bali, though sanitization of shoes and clothing is mandatory before leaving Bali. Foot and mouth disease does not affect humans but people can carry the virus on their clothing and shoes from one place to another. Foot and mouth disease is highly contagious and transmissible and affects animals with cloven feet, like cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep.
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