International health organisations point to the need to improve the efficiency of prevention, control and eradication programs for animal diseases. In order to achieve this and justify national and international support it has become essential to apply techniques of economic analysis (Ellis, 1993). A review of the literature indicates that techniques of economic analysis such as cost benefit analysis and simulation modelling are commonly applied in assessment of disease control programs. It is argued however that such applications fail to satisfy the principles of optimal economic analysis. It is suggested in this paper that Mathematical programming techniques in principle help determine optimality better than competing techniques, appropriately integrating economics and epidemiology into the analysis. This paper will provide a review of the economics of controlling diseases in livestock and outline the possible application of optimal control modelling to assessing disease control policies. This review and application will be conducted with special reference to foot-and-mouth disease in Thailand.