Tuesday, November 07, 2006

DHS Discusses Foot-and-Mouth Threat

Nothing new here, but the agricultural threat of foot-and-mouth disease got some notice in the recent comments of a DHS official, GovExec reports:

The Homeland Security Department's senior adviser for weapons of mass destruction said late last week that the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease on American soil would have a tremendous effect on the U.S. economy, whether the outbreak is intentional or accidental.

Maureen McCarthy, the weapons adviser, on Friday told attendees of the Association for Intelligence Officers' annual convention that such an outbreak would cost the American agriculture economy "hundreds of billions" of dollars and could shutter some trade borders for "years" if officials deem it necessary.

"It will happen instantly," she said of the financial and trade impact, "even if there are no deaths."

During a discussion that in part focused on how biological agents might be used against the United States, McCarthy said foot-and-mouth disease could be used by terrorists.
Agricultural terrorism is a potentially major vulnerability. Collaboration with state and federal veterinary services is an important part of being prepared.

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