A bioterror attack that introduced a virus like foot-and-mouth disease could devastate the U.S. livestock industry. Regulators are proposing new rules meant to protect the food system from terror attack.
In Ste. Genevieve County, Mo., about 100 residents gathered for a town hall meeting in 2013 to discuss a new frac sand mine in their backyard. Officials from the county, state and mining company attended to answer questions residents might have.
Neighbors peppered the panel with questions: How will the mine’s sand dust be regulated? How will you prevent it from getting into our lungs? How will the traffic and explosions affect my health, my property and the ecosystem? Concerns about breathing in the microscopic sand particles, which could lead to silicosis in the lungs, abounded.
Jane Hardy, who lives about 1000 feet from the mine, said she wasn’t satisfied with the answers.
Farmer Phil Borgic of Nokomis, Ill., knows firsthand what happens when porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED), virus infects a hog barn. He walked through one in late January, pointing out the differences among litters.
“This is a PED litter. See how dirty they are?” he said, pointing to a sow whose little piglets had dirty hooves.
A couple of dead piglets, PED victims, waited to be removed from the pen. When suckling piglets contract the disease, they die from dehydration because their bodies can’t recover from the vomiting and diarrhea it causes. Borgic estimates the outbreak in his barns killed about eight percent of his expected annual total.