Welsh Government
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Exercise planned to test government response to animal disease

A major UK exercise involving the Welsh Government, Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Defra, the Scottish Government, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Northern Ireland (DARDNI) and key operational partners, will test the ability of all four UK governments to deal with a significant outbreak of Classical Swine Fever (CSF).

Exercise Walnut will take place on 12-13 June 2013 and will simulate a UK scale outbreak of CSF to test existing plans and policies for the control and eradication of this significant exotic notifiable disease.

As part of the exercise the Emergency Co-ordination Centre (Wales) (ECC(W)) in Cardiff will be established.  A Disease Strategy Group (DSG) and a Central Epizootic Disease Control Centre (CEDCC) will also be set up in Edinburgh and Belfast respectively.

Wales’ Environment Minister, John Griffiths, said:

“In the Programme for Government the Welsh Government made a commitment to review and test contingency plans for animal disease emergencies. This exercise is helping us to meet that commitment.

“Exercises such as Exercise Walnut enable the Welsh Government to work closely with partner agencies and the other Administrations in order to prepare to deal with an outbreak effectively.”

Professor Christianne Glossop, Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, said:

“Exercise Walnut will help to ensure that government is prepared to respond to future disease outbreaks. It will allow us to identify better ways of working with our partners, and help ensure our approach to managing a significant disease outbreak is properly co-ordinated.  In addition this disease scenario will enable us to explore our relationship with the Welsh pig industry.

“This exercise will give us a realistic real-time simulation to establish our state of readiness for dealing with a disease outbreak.”

Three tabletop exercises, an on-farm exercise and a number of expert and strategic policy group meetings, will take place as part of Exercise Walnut. Information from both tabletops will be fed into the main exercise.

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Classical swine fever