Animal health and disease control
Our policy on disease control is that prevention is better than cure. We encourage good animal health and ensure appropriate contingency planning to cope with disease outbreaks.
This approach works by reducing the chances of a disease entering the animal population, and if it does then it can be quickly spotted and dealt with through the preventative measures.
Animals therefore suffer less, while the livestock industry can work without the expensive, stressful, and restrictive disruptions caused by largescale disease outbreaks.
Animal health policy is fully devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers are responsible for the response to any exotic notifiable animal disease. Notifiable diseases are named in section 88 of the of the Animal Health Act 1981 or an order made under that act.
Animal health and welfare strategy
The animal health and welfare in the livestock industry: strategy 2016 to 2021 is a five-year strategy, tailored to Scotland's needs. The strategy was prepared in consultation with farming organisations, animal welfare organisations and scientists.
Animal disease guidance and contingency planning
We have produced a series of guidance on animal diseases including:
- guidance on specific animal diseases including how to identify and report an outbreak
- exotic diseases of animals: contingency framework plan
- exotic diseases of animals: communications strategy
- Scottish regional resilience partnerships' framework for exotic notifiable animal diseases contingency plans
- animal disease industry contingency plan: template
While we produce our own guidance (detailed above), the United Kingdom contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases provides an overview of the response to an outbreak in the UK. This plan highlights the way the different administrations work together to provide a rapid response and contains details on the structures, roles and responsibilities that are activated during an outbreak.
Rare breeds/breeds at risk
In addition, The FanGR (Farm Animal Genetic Resources) Committee have produced guidelines for developing a contingency plan for breeds at risk (i.e. considered to be kept for conservation purposes in case of a notifiable disease outbreak). Derogation from culling for breeds at risk is not granted automatically in a notifiable disease outbreak and will depend on veterinary risk assessment. It is advisable that you discuss your plan with APHA in advance of an outbreak.
Animal diseases: international and UK monitoring
Defra and the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) are responsible for monitoring animal diseases both internationally and in the UK and produce regular reports on the current situation.
We publish a monthly report on the latest animal disease situation.
Biosecurity is a set of management practices that collectively reduce the potential for the introduction or spread of animal disease-causing organisms on to and between farms.
Read more about:
- Biosecurity practices for animal health: general guidance
- Biosecurity practices guidance: for public bodies staff
- Biosecurity for horses guidance
Bird gatherings are permitted in Scotland under general licence.