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Animal Health: Exotic Diseases

Volume 715: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2009


My honourable friend the Minister of State for Food, Farming and the Environment (Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament the National Contingency Plan for Exotic Diseases of Animals in accordance with Section 14A of the Animal Health Act 2002 which came into force on 24 March 2003.

This plan sets out the operational response arrangements Defra will put in place to deal with any occurrence of foot and mouth disease, avian influenza or Newcastle disease. The plan is also applicable to all other exotic diseases of animals. It is composed of two elements:

Defra’s Framework Response Plan for Exotic Diseases of Animals, 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 Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases which was laid before Parliament on 9 December 2008.

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.