Reducing the risk of animal diseases

By Peter Kent and Tom Lollis

black cowClemson University Livestock and Poultry Health officials are working with livestock producers, the S.C. Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Clemson Extension agents to reduce the risk of animal diseases in the state.

The Livestock-Poultry Health unit, located in Columbia, has a mandate to protect South Carolina animals and citizens from animal-borne diseases. This group enforces state and federal laws on animal diseases, provides diagnostic laboratory services for veterinarians, serves as the first responder for animal emergencies, and ensures that state meat and poultry processing plants meet USDA standards.

Currently, Livestock-Poultry Health officials are developing a statewide animal identification program that will allow tracking of livestock from the farm to the meat processing plant. This is part of a national effort led by the USDA and is funded by a grant from that agency. The program’s goal is to respond quickly in case an animal-borne disease – such as mad cow disease – is discovered in South Carolina.

The increasing number of animal disease outbreaks worldwide and the case of mad-cow disease found in Washington last year have heightened public interest in a national animal identification program.

“When fully implemented, this program will enable officials to identify animals and livestock locations that have had contact with a disease within 48 hours after discovery,”

Clemson veterinarian Boyd Parr is meeting with livestock producers around the state to introduce the identification program. One meeting with cattlemen was held at Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville.

For more information or to apply for a permit, call Livestock-Poultry Health Programs at (803) 788-2260 option 4.