The cross border development and testing of effective tools for prevention and control of animal diseases is the stated objective of the project group “Managing risks”. German and Dutch experts from facilities operating in the private and public sectors are working together upon initiative of the departments for Agriculture of the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia on common problem solving approaches: The border region of both countries is regarded as an adhering risk area for animal diseases because of its high livestock density and many-sided trade relations (epidemical unit).
This not only involves a close adjustment of the so far national oriented animal disease policy (animal health strategy), but moreover a joint action in regards to prevention and control of animal diseases.
Devastating animal diseases counting above all Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and the Avian Influenza (AI) - are rare but threatening incidents. In case of a crisis it can lead to considerable economic and competition-political consequences for the directly affected region and its trade partners around the world. The comparably short outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001 in the Netherlands left a total economic damage of about one billion Euros.
The project tasks of the group „Managing risks” were tied up all together to six different theme packages under the headlines prevention and control. The objective of one of the working packages is to develop a new early-warning system, which accelerates the detention of viruses and therefore minimizes the economic damage by a multitude.
Two tools are to be developed and tested for prevention a model for inter-organisational information management and a procedure for risk oriented surveillance of livestock. These methods are to improve the German and Dutch collaboration between administrations and the private sector.
New strategies for cross border control of animal diseases are to be addressed in working package 2. In close cooperation scientists of the universities in Wageningen and Bonn will expand their simulation programmes for the economic assessment of consequences of outbreaks of animal diseases. Based on the attained results suggestions can be derived for the composition of a Dutch-German contingency plan exemplarily for CSF. The political frame work for an expansion of the cross border cooperation has already been created. On this assumption the operative conversion of control measures into the daily procedures of livestock owners, extension workers, slaughter and processing companies and officers in administration and crisis management is finally feasible.