Ag department issues animal disease response CD

WASHINGTON, DC, March 26, 2004 (ENS): To prepare for the introduction of animal diseases into the U.S. meat production pathway - whether by terrorists or by accident - Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has released an informational compact disc for federal and state agriculture first responders.

“This new tool provides federal, state and private veterinarians immediate access to resources and relevant information to help them more effectively identify, respond to, control and facilitate recovery from a foreign animal disease outbreak,” Veneman said.

The compact disc, “Food Security: The Threat to American Livestock,” was developed in conjunction with Auburn University.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, (APHIS) helps to ensure the safety of all animal and plant products from the farm to the food distribution centers located around the country. The agency has begun an extensive program to enhance its readiness to detect, deter and respond to terrorist events involving plant or animal pathogens.

State and federal officials who have a role to fulfill in the event of an unintentional or intentional threat to U.S. livestock will also have access to this data bank.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Veneman formed a Homeland Security Council within the Agriculture Department to develop a plan and coordinate efforts among all USDA agencies and offices. The council focused on food supply and agriculture production, USDA facilities and staff and emergency preparedness.

APHIS’ compact disc addresses emergency preparedness. It attempts to place homeland security issues front and center for private veterinary practitioners and other agricultural first responders, as they conduct their daily activities.

The CD offers comprehensive information on infectious disease threats to livestock, animal disease awareness briefings, standard veterinary medical information for diagnosing such diseases, and emergency information gathering and reporting mechanisms.

The CD outlines routine biosecurity measures for on-site farm visits, recommends emergency response plans and suggests disease monitoring methods.

http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/mar2004/2004-03-29-09.asp


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