DEFRA’s contingency plan for exotic animal diseases is in three parts:
i. Information on specific animal diseases. This is available on the DEFRA website and ensures that those interested always have access to up to date information.
ii. Emergency preparedness. This provides details of how DEFRA has prepared for an outbreak, including some information on the diseases and what action the Department has taken to be ready,
iii. Framework Response plan. This is an operational manual for those involved in managing handling an outbreak and, whilst it is in the public domain, it is primarily for officials who have responsibility in an outbreak.
The plan is reviewed annually in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Health Act 2002. The current version of the plan was laid before Parliament on 13 December 2006. The plan (together with the additional bluetongue contingency plan) is being used in the current outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and bluetongue.
DEFRA encourages owners or keepers of stock kept on common land, such as the New Forest, to undertake enhanced surveillance for signs of disease amongst their animals. If they have any concerns they should be reported to their local animal health office.