Wolf Testifies on Behalf of SheepFoot-and-mouth disease can be difficult to detect during the early stages in sheep, which means it is important for the United States to have an accessible vaccine bank ready to meet demand in case of an outbreak, said Cindy Wolf, DVM, in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture on Feb. 11 in Washington, D.C.
Wolf serves as co-chair of ASI’s Animal Health Committee and is also the small ruminant veterinary specialist with the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine. A longtime sheep producer, Wolf understands the frequent movements of sheep around the country and realizes the risks such movements present with relation to an airborne illness such as foot-and-mouth disease.
“One of the lessons learned from the 2001 FMD outbreak in the U.K. was that sheep were carrying and distributing the virus across the country and throughout marketing channels, spreading it to other livestock before the disease was recognized,” she testified. “Therefore, early detection, animal traceability, movement restrictions and vaccination is essential averting a very large outbreak in the U.S.”
While the United States hasn’t had an FMD outbreak since 1929, current vaccine supplies are inadequate should FMD return to this country in the near future.
“It is essential to the security of U.S. agriculture and the country that we are fully prepared and ready to produce potentially needed doses of the appropriate serotype in an extremely rapid timeframe,” said Wolf. “The American sheep industry appreciates the support of this committee in furthering a plan to bolster our preparedness for an FMD outbreak.”