Animal disease outbreak: contingency plan template

Template for use by livestock keepers.

Every livestock keeper should prepare themselves for the outbreak of disease and have a contingency plan in place that is regularly practised and reviewed. These plans are particularly important on premises with a high throughput, as farms that rely on a large number of regular animal transfers will be worst affected by a movement standstill. 

Beyond the obvious impacts on productivity and business, should disease be confirmed on your premises, it is likely that you would have to carry out thorough cleansing and disinfection on site as well as the treatment and disposal of organic wastes and wash water, at your own expense. 

Delays in completion of thorough cleansing and disinfection can have implication for the UK regaining freedom from certain notifiable diseases. It is, therefore, in the interests of every livestock keeper to have a contingency plan in place that is regularly practised and reviewed.  

This template has been developed primarily for use by intensive agricultural units covered by the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations.

It provides both advice and a framework to help operators protect their business from the risks posed by notifiable animal disease.

No operator is under any obligation to fill in this template, to fill in sections that they do not wish to. But any existing or new plans should also be discussed with operational partners such as the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to ensure their robustness.

Specifically the document is designed to:

  • inform you of the likely consequences of an outbreak of disease on your premises

  • encourage you to improve biosecurity measures on your premises

  • help prepare your business for an outbreak on your premises, or the imposition of movement controls

  • provide a single source of information to allow you and APHA to deal quickly and efficiently with an outbreak and return your unit to productivity as quickly as possible

  • ensure you put in place measures to prevent pollution of the environment or harm to animal or human health, specifically encouraging you to think through potentially polluting actions and establish appropriate mitigation strategies


Scottish Government
Animal health and welfare team
Saughton House

Back to top