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Survey of Biosecurity Practices Utilized by Veterinarians Working with Farm Animal Species

Author(s): David E. Anderson

Journal: Online Journal of Rural Research & Policy
ISSN 1936-0487

Volume: 5;
Issue: 7;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Biosecurity | Veterinarian Practices | Farm Animal Species | Biocontainment | Agroterrorism | Biosecurity

Biosecurity programs can be discussed from many perspectives. In many cases, biosecurity may be regulated state or federal programs with law enforcement - the goals of which are to protect the "national" livestock resources and protect consumer interests. Alternatively, these programs may be producer level programs that are voluntarily established for protection of personal livestock investments. A core principle in the definition of "biosecurity" is the desire to prevent the introduction of disease. When infectious disease is present on a farm or in a region, the term "biocontainment" may be used to describe programs aimed at confinement of the diseases to that farm or region such that it does not spread to other farms. Veterinarians are intimately involved in the maintenance of health and in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. When confronting an ongoing disease diagnosis and treatment situation, biocontainment can be readily implemented because the effects are apparent. However, when working to maintain a healthy herd, biosecurity practices may be more challenging to enforce because the threat is neither apparent nor seems eminent. An additional perspective on biosecurity relates to zoonotic diseases. Animal handlers and veterinarians are at risk for disease transmission from the animal to humans as part of their normal daily work habits. This chronic and persistent exposure may lead to complacency regarding risk if the people involved have never knowingly suffered disease. Thus, biosecurity can be a challenging concept for farm managers and veterinarians to apply in field settings.
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