Exercise will test foot-and-mouth readiness

Britain’s ability to cope with a significant outbreak of foot-and-mouth will be tested later this year when an exercise involving Animal Health, DEFRA and the Scottish and Welsh Assembly Governments swings into action.

Exercise Silver Birch will simulate a significant foot-and-mouth outbreak to test exisiting plans and policies for the eradications of exotic notifiable diseases.

The exercise will run over two days (9-10 November 2010) and will be a realistic, real-time simulation which will establish Britain’s state of readiness. It will also help identify how plans, structures and procedures for managing disease can be improved.

Gordon Hickman, head of contingency planning for Animal Health, said the findings of the exercise would help protect the industry from future outbreaks. “It is essential we plan for a realistic worst case scenario and make sure we are in the best possible position to minimise the impact on farmers and their livestock should the worst occur.”