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Addressing Issues of Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science

Smith, Martin
University of California - Davis
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The proposed research and extension initiative represents a state and national effort that will address bio-security issues relevant to 4-H Animal Science Projects. Using a multi-layered approach, the outcomes from this work will provide 4-H with much-needed methods and strategies to address accountability issues relative to the wide variety of food animals raised by youth on an annual basis. It will also provide agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) with concrete foundational data on 4-H project animals and their movements to fairs, shows, and exhibitions that will help in the tracing, monitoring, and controlling or eradication of diseases that may originate in this population of animals. The overarching goal of the Addressing Issues of Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science project is to improve bio-security measures in 4-H Animal Science to help safeguard the animal production industry. Measurable objectives for this project include: 1. To identify typical patterns of movement within and between species groups of 4-H Project animals associated with Foot & Mouth Disease [FMD], Avian Influenza (AI) and Exotic Newcastle (END) relative to fairs, shows, and exhibitions. 2. To identify the various types of contacts (direct and indirect) and the average number of contacts that 4-H Project animals associated with FMD, AI and END make at fairs, shows,, and exhibitions. 3. To test the efficacy of an industry model for disease spread using data from 4-H Animal Science project animals and modify it as needed. 4. To develop two Risk Assessment and Education Tools, one for FMD and one for AI/END which will help determine the level (low, medium, high) of bio-security risks of 4-H Project Animals. 5. To develop recommended Guidelines for 4-H Bio-Security for the purposes of protecting 4-H animals from the exposure to and transmission of FMD, AI, and END.
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Non-Technical Summary- 4-H Animal Science projects are potential bio-security risks. Approximately 30,000 youth participate in 4-H Animal Science projects annually in California; nationally, this number exceeds 2,300,000 (USDA, 2003). The majority of these projects focus on the rearing, care, husbandry and, in many cases, showing and marketing (for breeding or slaughter) of live animals, including poultry, ruminants, and swine. In most cases, 4-H members house their animals at home or on local farms, meet collectively as a club once or more monthly, and convene in larger groups on exhibition days and at county or state fairs. Due to the fact that backyard flocks and herds serve as potential vectors of disease (FAO, 1999; WHO, 2004), these public venues represent a significant bio-security risk. However, no standardized bio-security guidelines or protocols exist for 4-H project animals, and research indicates that there are no regional or statewide professional development opportunities on bio-security to inform program leaders of bio-security risks and preventative measures (AIES, 2004). The Addressing Issues of Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science project is a research and education outreach initiative whose long-term outcome is improved bio-security measures to help safeguard the animal production industry. Outcomes from this project will provide methods and strategies that allow for the effective monitoring and surveillance of project animals in California and National 4-H Programs.

Approach- The approaches to accomplishing the objectives of the Addressing Issues of Bio-Security in 4-H Animal Science project will be comprehensive and include the following: 1. Using a variety of data sources, researchers will ascertain the average number of 4-H project animals susceptible to FMD, AI, and END that move through club projects, exhibitions, fairs, and shows annually, their points of origin (e.g., movement within/between counties), and the average number and types of contacts each animal makes. Data collection strategies will include, but will not be limited to: venue record archives (e.g., club meetings, fairs, shows and exhibitions); questionnaires distributed at 4-H venues (e.g., meetings, fairs, shows and exhibitions); 4-H enrollment records; and direct observations (e.g., number of contacts by animals at specific venues) by researchers. 2. Data on 4-H animal movement and contacts will be used to test an existing industry model designed to track the spread of FMD to ascertain its accuracy with this population of small producers. Specifically, data will be used in the FMD simulation model in two ways: 1) Premises demographics, including number and type of animals and geographic information will be used to help populate the model; and 2) Direct and indirect contact information will be estimated and used in the simulation model. Ultimately, the simulation model will be used to estimate the spread and control of FMD if it were introduced into California through 4-H or other small producers and these data will improve the accuracy of the model. Furthermore, adaptations to the model for AI and END will be made as needed. 3. Once foundational data on 4-H animal movement and contacts have been collected and analyzed, two Risk Assessment and Education Tools, one for FMD and one for AI/END, will be developed with the purpose of protecting animal health by determining the level of bio-security risk (low, medium, or high) of 4-H Project Animals. These tools will be based on the disease(s) in question and susceptible species and will use a risk multiplier approach that integrates a variety of variables including, but not limited to: A. Exposure: direct contact (number and duration of contacts; intimacy); indirect contacts (people; equipment; manure; secretions). B. Environment: climate; hygiene; ventilation; husbandry. C. Animal Health: age; nutrition; parasitic load; vaccinations; pregnancy status; stress levels. D. Other issues as defined. 4. Using data on animal movement and contacts, recommended Guidelines for Bio-Security in 4-H will be developed. These recommendations will target preventative measures for species susceptible to FMD, AI, and END, focusing on record keeping and monitoring relative to animal movement, contacts, and health history. 5. Lastly, working with national collaborators, the disease spread model, the two Risk Assessment and Education Tools, and the Guidelines for a 4-H Bio-Security will be pilot-tested, modified as needed, and disseminated nationally.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Education and Training
Sanitation and Quality Standards
Food Defense and Integrity
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication