Agro-terrorism defenses to be improved
By Stewart Doan
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
For example, although USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has acquired supplies to respond to the 17 most damaging animal disease threats, vaccines and diagnostic test kits for certain diseases have either not yet been developed or may be too costly for the agency to purchase.
There also may not be sufficient workforce capacity to depopulate animals quickly in the event of a catastrophic outbreak of a highly contagious animal disease, such as foot-and-mouth, the report suggests.
APHIS officials told congressional investigators that it could take as long as 80 days to depopulate a single feedlot with about 100,000 cattle.
GAO recommended nine corrective actions; four of which directly affect USDA.
Sheryl Maddox, deputy director of USDA's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Coordination, said the Department concurred with the recommendations and would work to implement them.
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