U.S. Needs Better Pest, Disease Preparation

Joanna SchroederAnimal Health, Biosecurity, NPPC

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is calling on lawmakers to work with the Obama Administration to improve the ability of the U.S. to be prepared to deal with a foreign pest infestations or disease outbreak. The call to action was made during testimony by former USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Bobby Acord, testifying on behalf of NPPC to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Acord said much more needs to be done to prevent plant and animal pests and diseases from entering the country and devastating U.S. food producers.

nppc_logo“There seems to be a growing consensus that there are serious flaws in the country’s preparedness to deal with threats to U.S. agriculture and the food supply,” Acord.

Last fall a report was released by NPPC that highlighted the need for improvements in the system to protect U.S. livestock herd and the nation’s food supply. The report also called for better preparation to deal with foreign animal diseases should they be found in the U.S.

Among actions NPPC suggested the federal government take to be better prepared to address a foreign pest infestation or disease outbreak:

  • A sufficient quantity of vaccine to control and eradicate an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.
  • A more robust review of biosecurity measures in each sector of the agriculture industry.
  • More vigorous scrutiny of imports at ports of entry.
  • An animal identification system to better trace the movement of livestock to control the spread of a disease and to determine the origins of an outbreak.
  • More funding for the systems that safeguard U.S. agriculture.
  • Share data, including on animal movements, to improve disease response.

Acord’s full testimony can be read here.