Steak may be at stake in next pandemic

Emerging infectious diseases like the coronavirus don’t just threaten humans. They’re also a major concern for the livestock industry and the U.S. food supply, with billions, if not trillions, of dollars at stake.

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October 8, 2020 - 8:20 AM

GREAT BEND, Kansas — Emerging infectious diseases like the coronavirus don’t just threaten humans. They’re also a major concern for the livestock industry and the U.S. food supply, with billions, if not trillions, of dollars at stake.

“We have a lot of movement of animals,” said Jack Shere, associate administrator for emergency program planning, response and security at the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “And disease could spread very easily.”

Considering three out of four new diseases in humans come from animals, including the coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and livestock producers are seeing what they can learn from the world’s response to COVID-19 — so they can be prepared for the equally serious threat of a devastating animal disease.

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