Agroterrorism: Options in Congress [December 19, 2001]   [open pdf - 130KB]

"Although U.S. intelligence agencies have not identified any terrorist acts targeting agricultural production (i.e., agroterrorism) in the United States to date, the events of September 11, 2001 have awakened the nation to their possibility. Some experts estimate that a single agroterrorist attack using a highly contagious livestock disease could cost between $10 billion and $30 billion to the U.S. economy. Experts also recognize weaknesses in the ability of most nations to prevent and contain a biological attack on their agricultural resources. Limited inspection capabilities, lack of rapid diagnostic tools, inadequate coordination between inspection agencies, and little biosafety training of farmers, agronomists, and veterinarians are among the recognized weaknesses. The goal of agroterrorism is to cripple the biological infrastructure of a nations agriculture, i.e., its livestock and its crops. Many links in the agricultural production chain are potentially susceptible to attack with a biological weapon. Traditionally the first defense against the introduction of livestock or plant diseases has been to try to keep them out of the country by stopping them at our borders. However, if an agroterrorist attack were to occur, keeping the disease from inflicting significant economic damage will depend on quick actions from alert and informed farmers and disease specialists."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31217
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
University of Maryland School of Law: http://www.law.umaryland.edu/
Media Type:
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