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Second Contingent Of NZ Vets Heads To The UK

Second Contingent Of New Zealand Vets Heads To The UK

Eight veterinarians from New Zealand will leave for the United Kingdom tomorrow to assist the efforts to control the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak.

A media conference will be held tomorrow prior to the vets’ departure at Auckland International Airport. (see end for details).

The eight vets form a New Zealand Veterinary Reserves Team (NZVRT).

Five vets come from AgriQuality New Zealand Ltd and three are from private veterinary practices. They are all trained as Initial Investigating Veterinarians within MAF's Exotic Disease Response (EDR) programme.

The NZVRT has been co-ordinated by MAF, but upon arrival in the United Kingdom will be working under the command and control of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF UK).

New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA, Great Britain and Ireland participate in the International Veterinary Reserves Agreement (IVRA). Under this agreement the government veterinary services of each country make a commitment to assist outbreaks in other countries through the provision of trained veterinarians, on request. New Zealand's commitment is for ten veterinarians, while the other member countries commit 20.

A team of five New Zealanders is already in the United Kingdom assisting with the outbreak.

MAF New Zealand has been in contact with MAFF UK since the outbreak was first notified. MAFF UK has responded favourably to the MAF NZ offer to activate the international veterinary reserves agreement. MAFF UK requested veterinarians to perform patrol vet duties and infected place management, and the NZVRT members were selected on this basis.

A press conference will be held at the media centre in the International Terminal, Auckland International Airport, on Thursday, 8 March, 2001, from 4.30 to 5.30pm. Media will have an opportunity to talk to the departing vets.

For further information contact: Matthew Stone, Programme Co-ordinator Exotic Disease Response, MAF Biosecurity Authority. Telephone: 04-498-9884 or 025-332-509

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