Nations Sign Animal Disease Accord

Six of the world's leading farming nations have signed a new accord to assist each other in the event of a serious animal disease outbreak. [Source: AnimalPharm, by Malcolm Flanagan May 25, 2016]

The agreement was signed by Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the US on the margins of the OIE's 84th General Session taking place in Paris.

The accord is made up three elements: an international animal health emergency reserve; the sharing of vaccines for foot and mouth disease (FMD); and supporting the recognition of zoning for foreign animal disease outbreaks.

The arrangement will provide participating countries with a supplementary emergency response team in the event of an animal disease outbreak. Sharing personnel during critical times will further support the six countries to act rapidly and effectively to control and eradicate the animal disease outbreak.

The countries have now agreed to support each other in the event of animal health emergencies, including the sharing of FMD vaccines.

In the event of an FMD outbreak, the arrangement will help facilitate the rapid consideration of requests for additional vaccine doses, thereby assisting the affected country/countries to benefit from an increased number of available vaccine doses.

The arrangement is also intended to manage biosecurity risks while minimizing trade disruptions in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak in a participating country. It aims to support the continuation of safe trade from areas that remain free from the disease, and the application of other controls, such as product treatments to address biosecurity risks.

The new arrangements support the OIE's Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 by engaging various countries in sharing scientific knowledge, data and resources.

New Zealand's primary resources minister Nathan Guy said: "The Paris agreements formalize the participating countries' commitment to support each other in the event of animal health emergencies, including the sharing of FMD vaccine in an outbreak and recognition of zoning principles for foreign animal disease outbreaks.

"Sharing personnel during critical animal disease times will help participating countries respond more quickly to an outbreak. It also gives us access to additional experience in outbreak management and responses. Having arrangements in place to continue safe trade from disease-free areas during an outbreak is good news for exporters.

"While New Zealand is well-prepared for FMD and has its own vaccine bank, the arrangement will give us rapid access to additional vaccine doses, should we require them."

In April 2014, Australia and New Zealand agreed to join forces in preparing for the possibility of a FMD outbreak in either country.