Animal-health officials for the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to work together to fight serious animal disease outbreaks. The agreement is designed so that the countries will share  their expertise in animal diseases, as well as call upon each other's veterinarians, laboratories, diagnosticians and animal-health specialists.

The agreement "will also provide an opportunity to discuss issues of common concern and exchange information so that we all better understand animal disease outbreaks and how best to respond," says Australian Agriculture Minister Warren Truss.

Each country's chief veterinary officer signed the agreement at the world organization for animal health annual meeting in Paris.