Within the past two years, the Animal Health Section has been challenged with a number of pressing animal health and emerging disease issues. In the wake of the Canadian and Washington State cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, the Agency has had to respond to widespread public and industry concerns about the serious threats posed by Mad Cow Disease. The Agency has also had to respond to Foot and Mouth Disease, West Nile Virus (WNV) in horses, Johnes disease in cattle, Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk, enzootic rabies, the disposition of livestock mortalities and multi-drug resistant Salmonella associated with human and food-borne illness. The cases of BSE in Canada and Washington act as reminders to how vulnerable we, as a country, can be to foreign animal diseases.
In the midst of these challenges, our livestock industries are also showing increasing interest and demand for the animal health and quality assurance programs being offered and developed in many other states. Expanding programs for the control, surveillance and/or eradication of Scrapie disease in sheep, Johnes disease in cattle and Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and elk are being developed nationally for adoption by states. We find ourselves stretched to deliver on the demands and needs of our industries to participate in the progress being made on these and other critical animal health and quality issues. At the same time, the increasing demands of animal welfare issues and concerns have continued to consume a significant portion of the time and resources of the Animal Health Section, often impinging on its responsibilities to animal health.
Most livestock disease programs are cooperatively conducted with the USDA, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. Success of the Brucellosis, TB and Pseudorabies eradication programs has resulted in declining funding to support those programs as the surveillance and control activities are slowly phased out with eradication of the diseases.