Funding for animal disease research and indemnification for livestock losses due to disease outbreak have become a major issue in the United States. The livestock and dairy industries have changed dramatically over the past 20 years, but our federal and state animal health agencies and protections remain virtually the same.
When major disease outbreaks occur, such as Brucellosis, Bovine Tuberculosis, Avian Influenza, or Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), and animals are ordered destroyed by USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, farmers are typically compensated with an indemnification. A diseases this severe triggers a regulatory response because it significantly threatens the health of other livestock, humans, or carry negative societal economic impacts.
There have been times when multiple disease outbreaks have happened in the same year, depleting USDA veterinary services funds and delaying farmers receiving their indemnification payments until funds can be secured from the Commodity Credit Corporation, causing financial hardship.
In the event of a major outbreak like FMD, the United States severely lacks the volume of vaccine needed to control and contain the disease spread, so there is a tremendous need to develop and manufacture more.
Additionally, the National Animal Health Lab Network is in critical need of funding, as well as updated and appropriate infrastructure. Without necessary updates, financial and technical support, the livestock and dairy industry shoulders further burden due to delayed response and lack of action.
Ernie Birchmeier, 517-679-5335
AFBF: #308 Livestock and Poultry Health, #377 Indemnification, #239 National Farm Policy
U.S. Animal Health Association