“There is that accidental risk of just travelers bringing those in, and there is definitely the reason for bio-terrorism to be an issue, that wouldn’t be accidental, that would be intentional. And that’s a high threat.”
Texas Cooperative Extension veterinarian and professor Buddy Faries says it’s not a matter of if, but when there’s a disease outbreak.
“Once it hits, if it can be detected early, reported rapidly, get it quarantined, shut down.”
“Don’t just say I’ll wait until tomorrow, or I’ll check with Joe or something, get on the phone and get it reported. Call a private veterinarian, call the Texas Animal health Commission.”
Dr. Faries says Texas Cooperative Extension has developed a program for first defenders.
“Texas Cooperative Extension has developed a train the trainers curriculum, we have modules, and chapters, and lessons on all of these foreign animal diseases, emerging animal diseases, how the diseases are transmitted, what the risks are, how they are managed, how they’re reported, the emergency management, and we have trained all the county extension agents in the state of Texas.”
In the past year, 253,000 producers attended train the trainer extension programs.
“So the producers are more aware, more concerned, and they learn how to recognize unusual signs, and that means they’ve got to make routine observations. It’s not driving through a pasture at 40 mph. It’s out there two or three times a day, walking and looking for unusual signs, and knowing how to report it.”
Annual training of Texas agricultural producers will continue, and the train the trainers program will soon be adopted nationally.