Volume 19 Issue 3, 2004

Improving Australian animal health emergency preparedness – the experience of Exercise Minotaur

Peter Koob reports on Exercise Minotaur, its contribution to testing Australia’s emergency response systems

Archived Article


Exercise Minotaur was conducted in Australia in September 2002 as a direct response to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the UK. Over 1000 people from government and industry agencies were formally involved in this COAG sponsored activity, which was a major stimulus to enhance the level of FMD preparedness in all jurisdictions and in industry. The aim of the exercise was to test Australia’s national arrangements for managing post-border aspects (preparedness, response and recovery) of an FMD outbreak as a part of continuous improvement. The scenario included a description of the spread of FMD through the livestock population and a description of effects on the economy and communities and concentrated on critical points in a potential FMD outbreak. Exercise Minotaur improved Australia’s emergency response systems, increased community, industry & government awareness, demonstrated Australia’s ability to manage a serious animal emergency and highlighted areas for further improvement.