Pigeon vaccinations and imports (October 2014)Recently, Biosecurity Tasmania seized a consignment of unvaccinated pigeons at the Tasmanian border - providing a timely reminder about vaccinating pigeons.
Avian paramyxovirus (APMV1) is understood to be still active on mainland Australia, hence it is still a requirement that all pigeons coming into Tasmania be vaccinated against APMV1. This includes racing pigeons brought into Tasmania for release for flight back to the mainland.
The vaccination requirement was introduced in 2013, as part of a range of measures to prevent APMV1 establishing in Tasmania, while allowing reasonable movement of birds.
The APVM1 vaccine involves two shots, four weeks apart, and an annual booster. Pigeon owners who vaccinated their birds in 2013 should soon be administering the annual booster (if they have not already done so). The import requirement for vaccination means that unvaccinated pigeons arriving at the Tasmanian border will be seized and either sent back to the mainland (at the importer's expense) or euthanased. There are also penalties (fines or prosecution) under the Animal Health Act 1995 for importing birds without any certification.
If you are thinking about bringing pigeons into Tasmania, please ensure they (and the birds already in your loft) are up to date with vaccinations - including annual boosters.