Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, wants to see the U.S. develop a stockpile of vaccines that would protect pigs and other livestock against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
In an email update sent to constituents, Peterson, D-Minnesota, reported that the Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture recently held a hearing to ask if the U.S. was prepared in the case that a FMD outbreak would occur.
Peterson said he felt that developing a FMD vaccine bank would be wise to “make sure all our bases are covered.”
“While we are fortunate that the United States remains free of FMD, it is important for us to take a good look at what we can do to prepare and best limit the consequences of any potential future incident,” Peterson wrote. “Developing a robust vaccine bank is a good step and an important part of any plan moving forward, and I hope that the industry can work hand-in-hand with USDA in doing so.”
While there is no presence of FMD in the U.S., numerous countries have reported recent cases of the disease to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
In 2016 alone, OIE has posted numerous reports of FMD. The disease has been found in pigs in South Korea, Armenia and Israel. It has also been reported in cattle in Israel, Botswana, Malawi, Kuwait, South Africa and Armenia.
The organization also reported earlier this year that previous cases of FMD in Namibia and Morocco had been resolved.