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25 May 2004
The New Zealand government signed an international agreement last night with
Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and the UK to combat animal disease outbreaks in
The agreement enables these countries to combine their efforts by supplying
experts including veterinarians, laboratory diagnosticians, animal health
technicians and emergency managers to combat animal disease outbreaks together.
It will also be an opportunity for these experts to discuss and exchange
information to better understand and combat developing diseases.
"Arrangements between these countries to provide emergency assistance have
historically been informal but always important" said Dr Allen Bryce, from the
Ministry or Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).
"The countries have cooperated in many instances, one example being the 2001
Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in the UK.
"This agreement officially ensures these signatory countries can rely on each
other to provide assistance and expert support should an animal disease outbreak
occur" said Dr Bryce.
The agreement was signed by Chief Veterinary Officers from the six countries
at the May conference of the Office International des Èpizooties, the world
organisation for animal health, in Paris.
"While the primary objective of sending New Zealand animal health personnel
to work in overseas outbreak responses is to provide assistance where it is
needed, it also provides invaluable experience that we use to strengthen our own
preparedness" said Dr Bryce.
MAF arranged for about 30 New Zealand personnel to the UK in the 2001 foot
and mouth disease outbreak, and this year New Zealand has provided staff to
assist with avian influenza control in Vietnam, Cambodia and Canada.
"International cooperation and understanding is an important step to combat
animal disease outbreaks around the world" said Dr Bryce.
Media contact: Joseph Wallace, MAF Assistant Communications Adviser Phone:
0-4-498-9637 or 027 210 25 88 Email: email@example.com Web: