Essay on Agroterrorism: United States Department of Defense

3523 Words Dec 26th, 2011 15 Pages
Michael Alexander
American Military University
November 23, 2011
Cheryl Wilhelmsen


Agriculture is a key component and driver of our economy as well as the main food source for US citizens. The US serves as one of the largest exporters of food supplies to nations around the globe. (1) A significant disruption in our exports would have ripple effects within the US and throughout the global health system. The potential impacts of an Agroterrorism attack would be devastating to public health, both nationally and on the global front could be significant. (2)

Definitions of Agroterrorism
Agroterrorism is a subset of the larger field of threats posed by chemical and biological terrorism. As
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FMD is not recognized as zoonotic (i.e transmissible to humans). The United States has been free of the FMD virus since 1929, when the last of nine U.S. outbreaks was eradicated. The disease is characterized by fever and blister-like lesions followed by erosions on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats, and between the hooves. While many affected animals recover, the disease leaves them seriously debilitated. FMD causes severe losses in the production of both meat and milk. Because it spreads widely and rapidly and has grave economic and clinical consequences, FMD is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most. Due to the virulence with which FMD might spread against a non-inoculated population of livestock such as found in the United States, the economic impacts of an outbreak both within the US and in our international markets would be devastating.
Culling of infected herds and those herds suspected of potential infection is the commonly accepted method of quelling an outbreak. Culling of herds (slaughter and subsequent disposal of carcasses) creates a host of economic and psychological challenges for both livestock owners and the emergency response community. These cumulative economic and emotional challenges can have lasting impacts.
Unfortunately, FMD and its causative virus (9) can be found in as many as 60% of the countries of the world and is endemic in Africa, the

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