The vulnerability of U.S. agriculture to foot and mouth disease
Jochimsen, Aaron A.
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The U.S. livestock industry represents a critical economic infrastructure, due to its size and influence on national and international agricultural systems. The high-concentration farming practices that allow the United States to be a world leader in agriculture also present a vulnerability to biological pathogens, particularly foot and mouth disease (FMD). The purpose of this thesis is to stimulate and broaden the discussion of the U.S. livestock industry’s susceptibility to an FMD outbreak, regardless of how it is introduced. It reviews case studies of prominent outbreaks in the United Kingdom (2001) and Taiwan (1997). The themes that emerged from these case studies—responsibility and response—informed a discussion of ways to increase U.S. efficiency when responding to an FMD outbreak. The case studies illustrate that FMD outbreaks in thriving livestock industries can have devastating economic, social, and political consequences. The United States should address these and other international FMD outbreaks to improve the preparedness and resilience of the U.S. livestock industry to an outbreak of FMD.
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