hoof and mouth - what are you doing about it (Livestock - MCD/F&MD)

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What are your plans of action for dealing with the threat of hoof and mouth when it gets to our country? I worked at a petting farm just outside a port city in New England that recently decided not to open this summer due to the threat of hoof and mouth disease. The farm has a dairy herd and milk processing plant as well as the large petting farm, and felt that the threat of disease was too great to the dairy herd to allow the petting zoo to open to the public. The agricultural fair commission in Maine just decided to go ahead with the fairs unless hoof and mouth turns up in the U.S. A friend of mine had her horse evicted from the place she was boarding him because the owner of the farm has beef cattle and while horses do not become ill due to hoof and mouth, they can get the disease and carry it to cloven-hoof animals that do become ill. The animal dealers in Maine are being met at the gates now at many farms and are not allowed entrance for fear of hoof and mouth. I don't want to be alarmist, but this is spring vacation week and my kids friends from school sometimes travel abroad. Hoof and mouth can be carried on your shoe for up to 5 days. I strongly support educating all children concerning livestock and usually have an open door policy to my barns. What are you doing?

-- Sheryl Adams (radams@sacoriver.net), April 19, 2001


Response to hoof and mouth - what are you doing about it

Just the other day, hubby and I were talking about whether or not it was wise to attend farm auctions this summer, as we could be bringing back disease to the animals we have. Not any cattle, and just one sheep and two goats along with the horses, ducks, chickens, etc. Our neighbors all around us have cattle, so if this thing takes hold in the U.S. I hate to think what will happen. Colorado has decided on a 20 mile radius from any infected property. A lot more than just the stock owners will be effected, that's for sure. Pretty scary. Jan

-- Jan in CO (Janice12@aol.com), April 19, 2001.

Response to hoof and mouth - what are you doing about it

What good does it do to stress yourself over something you can't control! P.E.T.A. is gonna do it's best to bring hoof and mouth over to this side of the pond. The only thing that would bother me is that I rarely eat fruits/veggies and I'm a big meat eater; the prices might sky rocket!

I have never bought a critter at an auction, and I never will. I like to know what I'm purchasing. So hoof and mouth or not, that doesn't affect me.

I have a friend that just returned from England. She was over there doing a signing for a book she wrote. She visited with on-line friends from a poultry List. She found a place where she could go horseback riding. She returned to the U.S., taking the needed precautions before mingling with her stock, and isn't worried.

I live in Texas, in stock country. This whole area is cattle, hogs, goats, etc. Economically, hoof and mouth would devastating. Ranching, like farming, has it's problems, and if the disease does come over here (if it isn't already), there will be what's been over there ~ folks out of business who have been doing this for generations.

England's problem would have been nipped in the bud if their government hadn't kept the outbreak secret for a couple of months. What I think you might fear are folks in the U.S. who will privately kill off the sick critters and not say anything about it. They've seen all the healthy critters killed overseas just because they were in a diagnosed area, and just may try to avoid having their herds done in if they're not sick.

But, like I've said, what good does it do to worry.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), April 20, 2001.

Response to hoof and mouth - what are you doing about it

PRAYING ,but i think you can still do the normal summer things.If you attend fairs bring a spray bottle of bleach and spray your shoes before getting into your vechile to leave.Think smart don't panic .

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@slic.com), April 20, 2001.

Jan, Is the protection zone in Colorado TWENTY miles? (I know that is what you posted, but it seems really huge.) Also, have the state officials made any statement concerning wildlife like deer, sheep and elk?

-- Lynn Goltz (lynngoltz@aol.com), April 20, 2001.

I don't get it. They've had foot and mouth disease all over south America for as long as I can remember. That's why the US pays Panama not to build a road across the Darien Gap--the only stretch between Alaska and Tierra Del Fuego where the Pan American Highway is discontinuous. If the highway were built there, foot and mouth disease would spread from south America to Central and North America in very short order.

So how do the Colombians, Venezuelans, Brazilians, Peruvians, etc deal with foot and mouth disease? They vaccinate their stock.

I am a vegetarian; have been since 1976. But for you folks who raise animals, why don't you just vaccinate your stock?

What am I missing here? Seriously, I'm sure there must be a reason, but I don't know what it is.


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), April 20, 2001.


You cannot vaccinate your animals since the vaccine isn't available in the U.S. - period. F&MD is so highly contageous cultures are maintained for the U.S. only in one place, Plum Island off of Long Island, under the maximum security conditions - you don't handle it without wearing basically space suits.

There are seven known strain and multi-substrains. Each vaccine is stain specific. If you vaccinate for one, it won't protect against another. Even if you vaccinate, it must be repeated on a regular basis as it will wear off within one year. The vaccines are not 100% effective and can cause an outbreak of F&MD.

I don't know about other South America countries, but Argentina has areas with endemic F&MD quarantined to where no shipments of meat or unpasturized dairy products are allowed out of them. When they found a new case recently out of these areas, they voluntarily stopped export shipments. And yes, Pamama acts as a buffer zone.

Without government approval, talking about vaccination is just an exercise to keep your fingers limber.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 20, 2001.

Thanks, Ken. I did hear that there were some areas in S. America which have been trying to get rid of foot and mouth, but I believe the news report said that even in these limited areas (and I can't remember which country) they were unsuccessful, and were considering going back to plan A--vaccination.

Are you saying you'd need to wear a spacesuit to administer the vaccine? (assuming you could get some), or is that merely because the vaccine itself could start an epidemic???

And thanks for the isometric finger exercises..


-- jumpoff joe (jumpoff@ecoweb.net), April 20, 2001.


The Level Five requirements are only for handling the live virus, not a vaccine made from it.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 21, 2001.

Just to add a little to Ken's info: the vaccine is not necessarily perfectly effective. That is, it may protect against symptoms of the infection; but the animal could still get a sub-clinical, symptomless infection and be capable of passing the full-blown infection on to other animals. Also at this stage there is no guaranteed test which can distinguish between vaccinated animals, vaccinated animals with infection, and just plain sub-clinically infected animals - means your export market is shot until every vaccinated animal is dead, once you start vaccinating.

Also, the virus can be wind-spread for incredible distances - something of the order of twenty miles over land, and three times that distance over water. Hence, I would guess, the talk about quarantine distances. Also makes it easy to get pools of infection in wild animals, and once that happened eradicating it would be extremely difficult. I guess they really REALLY want to control it immediately if an infection starts.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), April 23, 2001.

In one of the last two outbreaks in CA, the last one I think, F&MD apparently did get into the wild deer population as there was a concerted effort to eliminate them. Bear in mind though, the deer population in 1929 isn't what it is today. At that time it has been estimated there were only 3,000 deer in the entire state of Tennessee. Now there are an estimated one million.

The principle problem some South American countries are having in controlling F&MD is due to it be endemic in the wild swine population. This is a problem many Southwest states would have.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), April 23, 2001.

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