Chances are you remember the chaos that erupted when Johnny Depp and Amber Heard “smuggled” their dogs (Pistol and Boo) into Australia, without declaring them to quarantine.
Barnaby Joyce had something to say about this and the confrontation became heated, when the Minister for Agriculture threatened to euthanise the dogs and Johnny Depp reacted by comparing him to a tomato.
Yes, a tomato.
In the end, Amber Heard was given a good behaviour bond and the pair were required to create an apologetic video, which some have called a mockery of the entire situation. This incident attracted global attention and Australians were split over whether Barnaby Joyce was justified in his reaction.
The whole debacle may seem over the top, but Australia has strict biosecurity laws for a reason.
Why does Australia have strict biosecurity laws?
As an island, Australia is fairly isolated from the rest of the world. We’re home to many native animals and endangered species, which are vulnerable to invasive species, pests and diseases. The Australian government heavily regulates international trade, in order to protect our delicate ecosystem, which can be easily thrown out of balance.
An outbreak of disease could also have devastating impacts on Australia’s agriculture and breeding industries - two major players driving the national economy.
Australia is the enforcer of some of the strictest quarantine laws in the world. This reputation has likely protected our ecosystem and put Australia on the small list of countries classified as rabies-free.
As Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce told ABC News: "The reason you can walk through a park in Brisbane and not have in the back of your mind, 'what happens if a rabid dog comes out and bites me or bites my kid,' is because we've kept that disease out."
What does this mean if you want to bring your pet to Australia?
If you’re relocating to Australia and want to take your furry companion along for the adventure, don’t worry, you still can! As long as you don’t take a leaf out of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s book, you’ll be fine.
In our next post, we’ll explore the easiest ways to follow quarantine regulations to bring your beloved pet here.