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Contingency planning for farmers

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Farm businesses should ensure proper planning in case of a disease outbreak.

We encourage all farm businesses to make sure that they have plans in place in case of an outbreak of exotic animal disease.

Many of the arrangements necessary to cope with a disease outbreak will also help deal with other emergencies such as adverse weather/flooding etc.

Our response to an outbreak will vary depending upon the nature of the disease, but may typically include restrictions on movements of livestock, fodder and vehicles within a specified area. While we will use all possible options to reduce the impact of disease restrictions our primary responsibility is to deal with the disease outbreak. Therefore, for some areas closest to the outbreak, restrictions could be in place for some time.

Some livestock movements may be allowed in certain circumstances and under specific licensing conditions i.e. to allow for cows to be milked or to allow injured animals to receive urgent veterinary care. However, farmers will need to consider how their businesses can continue to function under restrictions.

If you keep livestock you should think about:

  • Do you have enough feed/fodder and water to allow your animals to remain on the farm for an extended period?
  • Will your livestock have access to enough grazing?
  • Can stock that may be kept away from your main holding remain at the detached land, if necessary?
  • Have you done all that you can to protect your livestock by having good biosecurity measures in place?
  • Do you check your livestock frequently for signs of disease?
  • What alternative arrangements you can make for selling your livestock?

Dairy farmers should note that there are likely to be milk collection issues during an outbreak because of the associated movement restrictions. However, we will consider licensing milk movements as soon as possible, subject to a risk assessment.