May 2016 ADBCAP Newsletter

A flock of chickens

One of the speakers at the recent National Institute for Animal Agriculture conference reminded the audience that this year marks the 15th anniversary of both the 9-11 attacks in the United States and the horrific outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom. One was an act of terrorism; one was a terrifying consequence of an accidental introduction. Members of the food and agriculture sector are sometimes reluctant to think of themselves as “critical infrastructure” as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. However, I think they do consider themselves essential elements of the nation’s economy and way of life. As one of those essential elements, the food and agriculture sector is a critical infrastructure and underlies the nation’s food security. Indeed, every producer can be looked at as critical infrastructure given the interconnected nature of the food and agriculture sector. Without the production and availability of foods, efforts to ensure access and utilization across demographics are futile. Food producing animals are vulnerable to a number of diseases and pests, some of which don’t currently exist in this country, some that mimic diseases that occur elsewhere, and some that routinely circulate with varying levels of ease.

Julie Smith DVM, PhD, is a research associate professor at the University of Vermont. Julie received her B.S. in Biological Sciences, D.V.M., and Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition at Cornell University. Since joining the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in 2002, she has applied her veterinary background to programs in the areas of herd health, calf and heifer management, and agricultural emergency management. She is responsible for teaching the undergraduate Animal Welfare class required of majors in her department. Julie has conducted trainings for Extension educators, livestock producers, and community members on the risks posed by a range of animal diseases, whether they already exist in the United States, exist outside of the United States, or pose a risk to both animal and human health. In all cases, she emphasizes the importance of awareness and prevention. As a veterinarian and spouse of a dairy farmer, Julie is well aware of the animal health and well-being concerns of dairy animals. She is currently leading the ADBCAP, a multi-species, multi-state project looking at the human behavioral aspects of implementing practices to protect animal health and food security.

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