11th May 2018 – Today we celebrate the retirement of the last biosecuritybeagle on mainland Australia, highlighting the successful 25-year history ofbeagles safeguarding our country from exotic pests and diseases.

Head of biosecurity operations with the Department of Agriculture and WaterResources, Nico Padovan, said the department’s last beagle, Andy, was retiringfrom Adelaide International Airport after almost nine years of service acrossthree states.

“During his 63 dog year career as a biosecurity detector dog, Andy sniffed out2.3 tonnes of biosecurity risk material that travellers have failed todeclare, including 718 kg of undeclared fresh fruit and veggies and 432 kg ofmeat.

“Detector dogs like Andy are integral to Australia’s comprehensive biosecuritysystem which operates offshore, at the border and on shore.

“Our dogs and their handlers intercept more than 50,000 items of biosecurityrisk across the country each year which could potentially devastate our $63billion agricultural industry and unique natural environment.

“Andy is the second last working beagle, with retirees being replaced withLabradors progressively since 2009.”

Labradors are larger and more agile and can flexibly adapt to diverseenvironments, working across airports, mail centres, seaports and courierdepots.

“We are very proud of the legacy our beagles are now entrusting to ourLabrador teams,” Mr Padovan said.

“Andy is retiring back to Sydney where he will live with his original handler,and travellers will now see Ari the Labrador following his nose aroundAdelaide airport.”

For more information on our detector dog program, visitagriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/australia/detector-dogs

Why are beagles being replaced by labradors

Beagles have traditionally been used because of their high food drive andfriendly public image.

  • Labradors have other practical purposes – they can be trained as multipurpose dogs, because of their strong retrieve drive.
  • Labradors are larger and more agile, making it easier for them to screen larger items at airports, mail centres, seaports and courier depots.

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ hasa reliable source of suitable labradors available for training, the AustralianBorder Force breeds most of the labradors used by the department.

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