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NEWS RELEASE

Ref: 383/08
Date: 9 December 2008

Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
Out of hours telephone 020 7270 8960

Defra publishes Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases

The Government’s updated Exotic Animal Disease Contingency Plan was laid in Parliament today.

The revised plan is produced by Animal Health for Defra, and includes changes which have been subject to formal public consultation. This includes a framework response plan for dealing with exotic animal diseases and plans for responding to specific diseases including Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease.

The changes to the plan reflect lessons identified from the incidents handled during 2008 and address recommendations made in Sir Iain Anderson’s review of the 2007 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease and feedback from the public consultation.

Jane Kennedy, Minister for Farming and the Environment said:

An animal disease outbreak can be devastating for those concerned. Defra remains totally committed to ensuring we learn lessons from our experience of outbreaks, so that we can make sure we respond effectively in future”.

The Contingency Plan is subject to ongoing revision based on the latest scientific advice, developments in policy, comments from stakeholders and operational partners together with the lessons identified from disease outbreaks.

Notes for editors

.1. The Contingency Plan can be accessed on the Defra website at: www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/control/contingency/index.htm.

2. Section 18 of the Animal Health Act 2002 requires that the appropriate authority must prepare a document (national contingency plan) indicating the arrangements the authority intends to put in place for the purpose of dealing with any occurrence of Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease, and other diseases as the authority specifies, and requires that the document be laid before Parliament.  Plans must be reviewed at least annually.

2. The Contingency Plan is comprised of two parts:

  • An Overview of Emergency Preparedness which provides details of how we have prepared for the operational response; and

  • The Framework Response Plan which is a high level operational manual for those involved in managing the response.

3. Details of control policies can be found on the Defra website www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/