Swine veterinarians from across the country are in Washington, D.C., this week to tell lawmakers about the consequences of a Foot-And-Mouth Disease outbreak in the nation’s herds.
They’re urging lawmakers to establish an offshore vaccine bank to help quickly control and eradicate the disease in the event of an outbreak. 23 veterinarians are making Capitol Hill visits as part of the Swine Veterinarian Public Policy Advocacy Program, put on by the National Pork Producers Council.
The NPPC’s top goal in the 2018 Farm Bill is creating a robust FMD vaccine bank. FMD affects cloven-hoofed animals like cattle and pigs but it’s not a food safety or human health threat. Iowa State University experts point out an FMD outbreak in America would prompt other countries to shut off U.S. meat exports. That would create a surplus of meat on the domestic market that would cost the beef and pork industries a combined $128 billion over a ten-year span if producers couldn’t combat the disease through vaccination.
The corn and soybean industries would lose $44 billion and $25 billion, respectively. Job losses across the economy would top 1.5 million.