25 May 2004
United Kingdom has 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."
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. The Agreement was signed in Paris where the OIE's (Office
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.