New international cooperation on animal diseases

  • Nathan Guy
Primary Industries

The Government has signed three new agreements to work closely with and support other countries in the event of animal disease outbreaks, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“As a Government we are working extremely hard to protect our borders and the primary sector from natural threats. An important part of that is international cooperation in case there is a major incident,” says Mr Guy.

The agreements formalise the participating countries’ commitment to support each other in the event of animal health emergencies, including the sharing of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine in an outbreak and recognition of zoning principles for foreign animal disease outbreaks.

The three agreements signed at the World Organisation for Animal Health’s 84th General Session in Paris, France include:

  • International Animal Health Emergency Reserve Agreement signed with Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK and the USA. An undertaking to provide supplementary emergency response personnel from unaffected signatory countries.
  • A vaccine sharing arrangement in the event of an FMD outbreak signed with Australia, Canada, Mexico and the USA. This enables access to FMD vaccines held in the vaccine bank of an unaffected signatory country.
  • Recognition of zoning principles for foreign animal disease outbreaks signed with Australia, Canada and the USA. This will manage biosecurity risks while minimising trade disruptions in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.

“Sharing personnel during critical times will help participating countries respond more quickly to an outbreak. It also gives us access to additional experience in outbreak management and response.

“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.

“FMD was a key topic discussed with Australian Minsters at the AgMin summit last week and we are already working closely on prevention and preparednesss with Australia through the Trans-Tasman FMD Action Plan.

“Construction is also well underway on the new $87 million biocontainment laboratory at Wallaceville which will respond to outbreaks and provide trade assurances.

“These arrangements show we are playing our part as a good global citizen and a leader in the field of animal health.”