Helena, Mont. – The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) is collaborating with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other state and local agencies to conduct an animal disease response exercise, May 8-10, 2018.
The three-day functional exercise will enable MDOL to practice the state’s animal disease response plan. Numerous federal, state and local government agencies will participate in the exercise, which will be based around an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United States.
“Foot-and-mouth disease would have devastating consequences for Montana’s livestock industry and how we handle the initial response would be crucial,” said State Veterinarian Marty Zaluski. “Testing our response plan in an exercise format will be very beneficial and we look forward to participating in the exercise.”
Foot-and-mouth disease was last identified in the United States in 1929. FMD is a highly contagious disease of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, deer and other cloven-hooved animals. It is not a human food safety concern nor a public health threat; however, it is a major concern for animal health officials because it could have potentially devastating economic consequences due to disrupted trade and lost investor confidence. Montana is home to over 2.5 million head of cattle which bring around $1 billion each year in cash receipts.
“This exercise will be a positive experience that will make Montana’s livestock industry more resilient and better prepare us for an outbreak,” said MDOL Executive Officer Mike Honeycutt. “The public should not be concerned if they hear anything about foot-and-mouth disease during the days of the exercise.”
The objectives for the exercise are to:
- Demonstrate effective communication among the federal, state, local, and industry entities, and among federal and state emergency operations centers.
- Define the critical information requirements and prioritization strategies to support requests for and manage scarce or critical resources.
- Refine policies and procedures for engaging/requesting support during an FMD response.
- Demonstrate procedures for the integration of state and federal information management systems.
- Validate FMD response plans.
- Identify gaps in available resources and policies that would be needed to effectively respond to an FMD outbreak.
The complete exercise is made up of a 3-day functional exercise for six states (California, Colorado, Montana, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin) and a table-top exercise of shorter duration for six additional states (Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas). Evaluations will focus on select Core Capabilities and Critical Tasks necessary to implement effective policies, plans, and procedures associated with resource management, communication, and Incident Command, to address an escalating FMD outbreak in the United States.
Source: USDA and MT Department of Livestock
The mission of the Montana Department of Livestock is to control and eradicate animal diseases, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft and predatory animals. For more information on the Montana Department of Livestock, visit www.liv.mt.gov.