Pressure To Prioritize Animal Disease Plan

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Pressure is up on Capitol Hill to make foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) a priority.

The National Pork Producers Council past president Dr. Howard Hill testified before Congress to address USDA's plan for an outbreak using a FMD vaccine.

Hill says the plan needs the resources to protect livestock, "We need to have the vaccine bank that would be readily available and then also have surge capacity to increase that rapidly, which currently, it's not in existence. There's about $1.9 million, which is a drop in the bucket in to what it would take to really have an effective vaccine and to have a response to use vaccine."

Hill says right now, there's no surge capacity, if there was an outbreak of FMD, it's estimated the U.S. would need 40 million doses of the vaccine.

Foot and mouth disease is an animal disease endemic in Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East and it can affect all cloven-hoofed animals. It rarely affects humans and is not a food safety issue; however, an outbreak in North America could devastate agriculture.

Hill says price of pigs could drop as much as 50 percent because it would shut down exports.