Animal Health launch alert service

Animal Health has today launched a free news alert service to help people on the move keep in touch with the latest developments on notifiable animal disease.

The service is targeted mainly at the farming community, although it is available to everyone. By registering, subscribers will receive alerts on up to five notifiable animal diseases - foot-and-mouth disease, bluetongue, avian influenza, Newcastle disease and classical swine fever. Subscribers can choose to receive alerts via a voicemail on a landline telephone or mobile telephone, via text, fax or email.

The new subscription service complements Animal Health's other channels for keeping the farming community and stakeholders informed about the latest developments on notifiable animal diseases - the Animal Health website, the Animal Health Recorded Information Line and Animal Health's instant messaging system, which allows the organisation to send messages to livestock keepers, local veterinary practices and local stakeholders where contact details are held.

There will be no charge to receive the messages on the notifable diseases noted above. Subscribers who register online will be able to register for free. However, subscribers who register via telephone will incur a one-off charge on their landline or at their mobile network provider's standard rate.

Glenys Stacey, Animal Health chief executive said: "A disease outbreak is a difficult time and it is vitally important that livestock keepers can access accurate information as quickly as possible.

"We have made great improvements over the past few months in communicating with our stakeholders, sending messages by voicemail, fax or email to many on our database. Because many farmers don't have access to, or time to look on the website for up-to-date information, we also introduced a recorded information line where people can call from a telephone and listen to the latest news instantly.

"Although we have been able to improve our communications significantly, we know we are not targeting everyone we need to. The new subscription service means our customers can choose the way they receive information and can choose which disease or diseases they want to be updated about."

To sign up online to the Animal Health Subscription Service visit the Animal Health website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalhealth.

To sign up by telephone dial 0844 884 9888 and follow the press button instructions.