Exotic animal diseases communications strategy: August 2022

This communications strategy is for use in the event of a disease outbreak, whether a major outbreak with widespread disease, or a more limited incident.

3. Planning assumptions

3.1 Disease outbreaks can take many forms, so it is necessary to be prepared to respond to a range of possible circumstances. Although the primary aim of the Communications Strategy is to set out structures for managing communications during a disease outbreak in Scotland, it is also designed to deal with:

  • disease being present within the UK, but out with Scotland
  • an extended outbreak with multiple Infected Premises (IPs) across the UK
  • concurrent exotic animal diseases that need to be dealt with
  • diseases with zoonotic potential (potential to spread between animals and humans).

3.2 The Communications Strategy must also recognise the environment it will operate in. Communications must take into account:

  • the demand for news 24 hours a day
  • the diverse ways in which people access and share information, and the ways in which social media in particular can spread news that may not be entirely accurate
  • news travels more quickly with social media and mobile internet access and the need to be able to feed such to the policy team to allow Ministers to be adequately briefed
  • the need for understandable, comprehensive and up-to-date information
  • the expectation that Government will respond swiftly and effectively to an exotic notifiable animal disease outbreak
  • the need to tailor media formats to target specific audiences


Email: Animal.Health@gov.scot

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