Bio-Security Essential to Saving Rare Breeds
Based on information provided by Richard Reynnells, National Program
Leader, Animal Production Systems, USDA CSREES/PAS, compiled by the staff
from the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
- Protecting your stock from infectious disease is an important aspect
of conservation. The activities and strategies employed in preventing
disease transmission constitutes a biological security program. Bio-security
is important at all times, but the crisis in the European Union resulting
from the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) makes this topic especially
- Bio-security is one of the most difficult management concepts to consistently
employ, but is especially critical for owners of rare breeds because these
small population make them especially vulnerable. Teaching and talking
about bio-security is relatively easy. Doing it is difficult, but that
should not dissuade farmers from establishing a program. Do not be intimidated
by your inability to implement a comprehensive program. A minimal bio-security
program implemented in increments is better than no program at all.
- Livestock owners should observe these guidelines at all times but especially
when there has been an outbreak of an infectious disease:
- First and foremost, use common sense: do not bring germs to your
animals and do not bring your animals to germs.
- Post a sign at the gate or entrance to your farm and at the animal facilities
that tells people that your animals are important and you are trying to
prevent disease transfer.
- Limit contact with other animals. Clean and disinfect your clothes and
boots following contact.
- Limit your visits to other farms, and clean and disinfect your clothes
and boots following visits.
- When buying stock, establish a quarantine area on your farm. Do chores
associated with these animals last. Clean and disinfect your clothes and
boots following these chores, then shower.
- Do not share tools or equipment with other farmers. If sharing high-priced
items is absolutely necessary, thoroughly clean and disinfect
the equipment (tires included) before it leaves your farm and before
allowing it back on your farm.
- Exercise control over visitors' access to your animals.
- Install a farm gate and lock it.
- Wash down and disinfect all vehicles entering the farm. Should we have
an outbreak of FMD, clean and disinfect feed trucks, delivery vehicles,
gas meter reader, and all other vehicles before allowing them on your
farm. If you drive off your farm, disinfect your vehicle before re-entering
In the event of an outbreak of an infectious disease all of the above
guidelines should be enhanced and rigidly enforced. There should be NO
outside contact and NO visitors. Clean and disinfect
all incoming people and vehicles - without exception. Some
viruses can survive in the human respiratory tract for several days. Should
there be a disease outbreak you should not expose yourself to diseased
animals, or to people who have worked with diseased animals, and then
care for your own animals.
The disaster resulting from reportable diseases like FMD would be compounded
if endangered breeds of livestock and poultry are destroyed and their
survival further threatened. Plan for their safekeeping today.