TO CONTINUE TO DEVELOP THE MYXOMATOSIS VACCINE IN AUSTRALIA

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1. We ask the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to finalise the development of, and subsequently commercialise, the UrΔM063 (prototype) vaccine for the protection of valuable rabbits against Myxomatosis.

 2. Myxomatosis is used by the Australian Government for biological control of the wild rabbit population, but it is a cruel insidious disease that causes immense pain and suffering, and is highly objectionable based on animal welfare grounds. As if that isn’t bad enough, pet rabbits are not pests, but rather someone's family, someone's companion, someone's therapy animal, someone's friend for life, and so on, but they don't have a vaccine to protect them. They are at great risk.

 3. UrΔM063 was under development for both pet and farmed rabbits, and managed to become the subject of a peer reviewed scientific paper, however funding ceased when the Government cancelled the Virally Vectored Immunocontraception (VVIC) program as a proposed method of biocontrol of the wild rabbit population.

 4. The Government has said the reason for ceasing to fund the vaccine was that the commercial rabbit industry was not interested in a Myxomatosis vaccine unless VVIC went ahead, but they did not consult the community of pet rabbit owners. We would have said please proceed with the vaccine, and to this day still want it to become a reality.

 5. It is critical to note that UrΔM063 is not a live attenuated vaccine and so current Government objections do not apply. In the scientific paper it is said to be “extremely safe, and ... [has] no possibility of it transmitting to other rabbits. Thus it would be acceptable for use in Australia as it produces no risk to the use of Myxomatosis as a biological control.”

 Please sign this petition so we can repeatedly provide it to the appropriate decisions makers to reinforce the fact that demand exists for the UrΔM063 prototype vaccine to be fully developed and become a commercial reality.



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