Will the “Levee Effect” Give a False Sense of Security for Livestock Diseases?

Several adult sheep with lambs standing in a field.

Animal and Veterinary Sciences Research Professor Julie Smith published an article in Progressive Dairy entitled, “Animal agriculture awaits normal accidents when it comes to biosecurity.” She examines the effects of a move by the United Kingdom and the European Union for animal agriculture to become disease-free without vaccination.

The article compares the false sense of security that comes with building levees along rivers to control flooding, and systems managed by a “just-in-time” flow leaving little room for error, to the vulnerabilities of commercial animal agriculture to disruptions from novel human and animal diseases, including a foreign animal disease outbreak.

Read Smith’s entire article here (PDF) and her thoughts about aligning policies and practices with the nature of agricultural systems, and managing the human nature of making risky decisions.

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