Agroterrorism - Why We're Not Ready: A Look at the Role of Law Enforcement   [open pdf - 696KB]

"Terrorists trying to damage the U.S. economy need look no further than the country's heartland for 'soft' targets. Farms, ranches, and feedlots are open and generally unprotected. The majority of State and local law enforcement agencies are financially and strategically unprepared to respond to agroterrorism. Public health officials may seem like the logical leaders for responding to an attack on the food supplies. However, the laws of many States require that agroterrorism be handled as a crime investigation, giving law enforcement primary responsibility. […] Agroterrorism experts are especially concerned about the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease into the food supply. Twenty times more infectious than smallpox, the disease causes painful blisters on the tongues, hooves, and teats of cloven-hoofed animals-cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, deer-rendering them unable to walk, give milk, eat, and drink. Although people generally cannot contract the disease, they can carry the virus in their lungs up to 48 hours and transmit it to animals. The animal-to-animal airborne transmission range is 50 miles. With millions of farms, open fields, and feedlots in the United States, the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease would require the mass slaughter and disposal of infected animals. An outbreak could halt the domestic and international sale of meat and meat products for years. Foot-and-mouth disease in 2001 in the United Kingdom affected 9,000 farms and required the destruction of more than 4,000,000 cows. Researchers believe that a similar outbreak n the United States would cost taxpayers up to $60 billion."

Report Number:
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Journal, Issue No. 257, p. 36-39
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS): http://www.ncjrs.gov/
Media Type:
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Journal, Issue No. 257
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