Disease plans adapted

Defra's Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan has been laid before Parliament this week.

The plan is amended annually and is produced for Defra by the Animal Health agency.

It includes an overarching plan for dealing with a range of exotic animal diseases, as well as plans for responding to specific diseases including Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Avian Influenza (AI) and, for the first time, Rabies and Bluetongue

The plan draws on lessons learned from disease outbreaks earlier this year including the FMD outbreak during the summer, the outbreaks of AI in February and May and the ongoing Bluetongue outbreak which began in September.

Animal Health and Welfare Minister Jeff Rooker said: "Our revised Contingency Plan reflects Defra's commitment to mounting an effective response to disease outbreaks.

"It is important to learn lessons from our response to every disease outbreak and our experiences this year have made an important contribution to the revised plan."

The Contingency Plan is subject to ongoing revision based on the latest scientific advice, developments in policy and comments from stakeholders and operational partners together with lessons identified from disease outbreaks.

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