Agricultural Terrorism (AGROTERRORISM) – what agricultural terrorism means, how to respond, training courses, and agroterrorism resources
According to the Office of Agricultural Emergency Preparedness, agroterrorism is "the deliberate introduction of a chemical or a disease agent, either against livestock/crops or into the food chain, for the purpose of undermining stability and/or generating fear."
If a terrorist introduced foot and mouth disease into an agricultural community, would first responders know how to respond swiftly and correctly?
Thanks to the course, "Foreign Animal Disease Response," officially approved by the Department of Homeland Security December 23, 2005, that knowledge is now readily available.
The course includes an overview on agroterrorism, modules on quarantine, PPE, depopulation/disposal of animals, cleaning/disinfection, plus a foot and mouth disease outbreak scenario and Emergency Responder field notes.
"Since September 11, 2001, the threat of an attack on our food system has become more and more prominent," said Ron Snyder, Program Director of the Agroterrorism Preparedness Center, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "This is an awareness course to provide our First Response community with a base knowledge to respond to a foreign animal disease outbreak. We are vulnerable in the agricultural industry, so how do we protect our infrastructure for food safety and security from farm to fork, from plant to plate?
People rarely connect agroterrorism with such responders as fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services and emergency management agencies. However, because control and eradication of a foreign animal disease will start at the local level and end at the local level, Snyder emphasized that "The local response community will be the ones to deal with the problem up front until state and federal agencies can assist."
"Until they've engaged in the training to see the importance of the roles they have to play within their community, a lot of folks are going to say, `How am I engaged in an agroterrorism event?' Well, once they learn the number of people it will take to contain, control and eradicate a foreign animal disease -- whether deliberately introduced or natural occurrence -- then it's just a matter of education. Information is knowledge and knowledge is power. The purpose of this training is to provide people with the power to deal with whatever event befalls their community."
Once they have completed the course, master trainers will educate training officers at the first response level who, in turn, will teach the "boots on the ground" in their local jurisdictions. Over the next 18 months, the goal is to train approximately 300,000 of America's first responders across the country on their roles during a foreign animal disease outbreak.
Looking back over the arduous fourteen months it has taken to create this unique finished product, Snyder concluded, "Everybody that has taken the pilot course feels it is valuable, eye-opening, informative and somewhat scary. It's a new arena. Nobody has thought about having to respond to an animal disease event.
It's been an eye-opener for those that we've trained in terms of what resources they need, where they get those resources, how to prepare for such an event, and where they are going to get the personnel to deal with it. These are the hard questions that need to be answered in every community."
The scope of the American agricultural and food industry is vast and because of the ever-changing nature of chemical and/or biological threats to that industry, we have developed an extensive on-line resource center for your use. Our research staff updates our electronic files of articles, papers and other timely information daily.
The "Agro-Terrorism" link to the left takes you to our Electronic Resource Center while the "AgTerror Materials" link provides you with support materials for the classes being taught nationally.
Do you know of information that you think should be shared via our Electronic Resource Center? If so, just email us at email@example.com or call us at 1-800-464-6874 with your information and/or request.
AGROTERRORISM/AGTERROR COURSE LISTING
Foreign Animal Disease
Response Master Trainer Course
This intensive 2½ day course is designed for the experienced Master Trainer who will instruct Emergency Responder Training Officers from multi-disciplines and jurisdictions across the Emergency Response community and to assist animal health officials in response to a foreign animal disease outbreak.
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