More State Veterinarians to Travel to UK
SACRAMENTO-Responding to a call for action by Governor Gray Davis, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is taking several additional steps to protect the state from the recent foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Europe.
CDFA is continuing its efforts to help at the front line of disease eradication, sending additional state veterinary officers to assist a team already on the ground in the United Kingdom. “We’re honored that our veterinarians have an opportunity to help fight this international crisis”, said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “We send our friends in England and the European Union our best wishes for decisive control of the disease in the very near future”.
In addition, CDFA is collaborating with the state Office of Emergency Services on an emergency action plan in case an outbreak is discovered in California. The last two outbreaks in the United States occurred in California in 1924 and 1929, leading to the destruction of more than 100,000 animals.
Also, the United States Department of Agriculture has asked CDFA to provide additional inspectors for passengers and cargo inspections at San Francisco and Los Angeles International Airports. The inspectors will focus on flights arriving from countries known to have foot-and-mouth disease.
And inspections are taking place at California border stations, where CDFA personnel have been instructed to search for foreign meat and meat products as part of their normal vehicle inspection procedures.
Before long, CDFA parcel inspection dogs will join the campaign. The dogs are being trained to detect animal products in packages sent through the mail and via overnight services like UPS and Federal Express.
“We have an excellent program in place against foot-and-mouth disease”, said Secretary Lyons. “72 years disease-free proves that. But the potential loss in California is enormous, so we’ll continue to look for new ways to reduce our risk”.
The highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease is the most devastating illness known to livestock. If just one animal in a herd is infected, the entire herd must be destroyed, and any other susceptible animals in the immediate vicinity must be destroyed, as well.
California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814