The United Kingdom last night signed an Agreement with the Governments of Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand to tackle animal disease outbreaks.
The main purpose of the Agreement provides for the exchange of veterinarians and other experts, such as laboratory diagnosticians and animal health technicians to tackle notifiable disease outbreaks in the six countries. It will also provide a platform to exchange information on new and developing diseases.
The Agreement was signed in Paris where the annual conference of the Office International des Epizooties - the international animal health body is currently being held.
Ben Bradshaw, the animal health Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:
"I am delighted that the UK has signed this Agreement. We already work very closely with the countries concerned and experienced veterinarians and other experts from other countries played an important role in our successful eradication of foot and mouth disease in 2001. Equally, we have invaluable veterinary expertise, technicians, laboratory diagnosticians and emergency managers in the UK that can be of real assistance to other countries.
The Agreement formalises the existing arrangements by ensuring that the signatory countries can rely on expert support should they face a major animal disease outbreak."
- The veterinary authorities from the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand already have a well-developed network that provides for the exchange of information and expertise on animal diseases. The Agreement formalises and enhances these arrangements by ensuring that the signatory countries have access to additional support if there is a serious disease outbreak. This support will involve veterinarians, animal health technicians, laboratory diagnosticians and emergency managers being posted to the partner country for a short period to impart their expertise.
- The Agreement not only forms an important part of the UK's contingency plans against future animal disease outbreaks, but also provides a structure for exchanging information on new and developing diseases and pooling expertise in the area of veterinary science.
- The Agreement was signed in Paris where the OIE's (Office International des Epizooties) annual conference is currently being held. The OIE was established in 1924 now comprises 166 member countries. The aim of the OIE is to guarantee the transparency of animal disease status world-wide by the collection, analysis and dissemination of veterinary scientific information.