People who own or keep animals are responsible for their care and health. The Government has set a number of rules to monitor the health of kept animals. These rules largely concern the prevention, monitoring and control of animal diseases.
The Government has also set specific rules for a number of animal diseases, for example because of their potential social and economic impact or because they pose a threat to human health.
Animal health monitoring
The Government constantly monitors animal health in the Netherlands. This facilitates rapid changes in animal health policy, or immediate response to outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The Government has set three objectives in consultation with the sector:
- To trace outbreaks of known diseases and pathogens that are not endemic (i.e. do not arise in nature) in the Netherlands;
- To identify as yet unknown diseases;
- To monitor trends and developments.
Prevention of animal diseases
To prevent the introduction and dissemination of animal diseases as far as possible, owners of animals must (among other things):
- Do their best to keep animal diseases out of their business;
- Ensure adequate hygiene;
- Be alert to symptoms of disease;
- Comply with requirements when importing animals from other countries;
- Notify a vet of any suspected animal disease.
When there is an increased risk of infectious animal diseases entering the country, more stringent supervision of animal transports is applied. These measures can be at farm or national level (e.g. a ban on imports from infected countries).
There are some holiday destinations where infectious animal diseases, such as foot and mouth or bird flu, are prevalent. The Government therefore advises travellers to be careful about contact with animals abroad. Pathogens from these animals can be accidentally introduced into the Netherlands with travellers and their luggage.