News Release
California Department of Food and Agriculture
Media Contact:
Steve Lyle, Office of Public Affairs, (916) 654-0462,
Release #01-026
Dr. Richard Breitmeyer to assist with Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease prevention
SACRAMENTO-More of California’s renowned veterinary expertise has been drafted to help with animal disease emergencies in Europe. State Veterinarian Dr. Richard Breitmeyer is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington D.C., where he will help to evaluate national prevention programs and emergency action plans for foreign animal disease, like Foot and Mouth Disease and Mad Cow Disease.

Breitmeyer, who is Director of Animal Health and Food Safety Services at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), will serve a temporary detail in Washington D.C. “The USDA asked for top level help on this issue, so I assigned Dr. Breitmeyer,” said CDFA Secretary William (Bill) J. Lyons, Jr. “He is the perfect choice. His expertise is held in the highest regard worldwide. I am certain that Dr. Breitmeyer will provide important insights to the federal government at this critical time.”

The assignment is another example of the Davis Administration’s commitment to preventing foreign animal disease in California. Already, Governor Davis has ordered CDFA to work with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to develop a joint action plan against Foot and Mouth Disease. The agencies are continuing with their collaborative project, with a final report due in April.

Breitmeyer follows four CDFA field veterinarians into service during the European crisis. The field veterinarians are all in the United Kingdom, where they’re actively working to track Foot and Mouth Disease under the direction of British animal health officials.

Dr. Breitmeyer joined CDFA in 1984, following several years as a veterinarian in private practice. He graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980.

The last case of Foot and Mouth Disease in the United States was 72 years ago. Disease outbreaks in 1924 and 1929, both in California, resulted in the loss of more than 100,000 animals.

There has never been a case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States.

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California Department of Food and Agriculture Office of Public Affairs
1220 N St., Ste. 214, Sacramento, CA 95814