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Exotic Animal Diseases

Volume 485: debated on Tuesday 9 December 2008

The National Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases has been laid before Parliament today in accordance with Section 14a of the Animal Health Act 2002, which came into force on 24 March 2003.

This plan is sets out the operational arrangements DEFRA will put in place to deal with any occurrence of foot and mouth disease, avian influenza or Newcastle disease. The plan also applicable to other exotic animal diseases. It is composed of two elements: DEFRA’s framework response plan for exotic animal diseases, outlining the systems, and structures which are established and detailing the key roles and responsibilities of Ministers and officials during an outbreak of disease; and DEFRA’s overview of emergency preparedness which provides details of our preparedness and operational response.

It replaces DEFRA’s exotic animal disease generic contingency plan which was laid before Parliament on 10 December 2007.

DEFRA’s contingency plan is very much a ‘living document’. It will be subject to ongoing revision taking on the latest developments in science, research, and epidemiological modelling together with lessons identified from outbreaks.

To meet the provisions of the Animal Health Act, the plan will also be subject to formal annual review.