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Agriculture Press Release

May 18, 2001

Bronson announces animal disease training exercise

TALLAHASSEE – Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson announced today that a multi-agency training exercise designed to better manage foreign animal diseases will be held from July 9 to July 13. 

Bronson's agency - the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services - as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Florida Department of Community Affairs' Division of Emergency Management will conduct the five-day exercise at the Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. 

‘This training exercise is an example of our department's effort to protect Florida citizens and industries from threats of any foreign animal disease," Bronson said. "This is the first such exercise utilizing a fully-activated state emergency management office anywhere in the nation." 

It comes as Florida and the rest of the country guard against the introduction of any number of foreign animal diseases, such as "foot and mouth disease" which is devastating the livestock industry in a number of European, South American and Asian countries, and "mad cow disease" which in rare cases can be transmitted to humans. Neither disease is in the United States. 

The goal of the training session is to test and strengthen the government's response to such threats by examining the agencies' ability to quickly disseminate information on a national basis, evaluating animal movement and quarantine procedures, and dealing with the issue of disposing of animals impacted by the disease in question. 

"We must be prepared," Bronson said. 

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