Objective—To examine the feasibility of depopulation of a large feedlot during a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the United States.
Design—Delphi survey followed by facilitated discussion.
Sample—27 experts, including veterinary toxicologists and pharmacologists, animal welfare experts, feedlot managers, and consulting veterinarians.
Procedures—4 veterinary pharmacologists, 5 veterinary toxicologists, 4 animal welfare experts, 26 consulting veterinarians, and 8 feedlot managers were invited to participate in a Delphi survey to identify methods for depopulation of a large feedlot during an FMD outbreak. A facilitated discussion that included 1 pharmacologist, 1 toxicologist, 1 animal welfare expert, 2 consulting veterinarians, and 2 feedlot managers was held to review the survey results.
Results—27 of 47 invited experts participated in the Delphi survey. Survey consensus was that, although several toxic agents would effectively cause acute death in a large number of animals, all of them had substantial animal welfare concerns. Pentobarbital sodium administered IV was considered the most effective pharmacological agent for euthanasia, and xylazine was considered the most effective sedative. Animal welfare concerns following administration of a euthanasia solution IV or a penetrating captive bolt were minimal; however, both veterinarians and feedlot managers felt that use of a captive bolt would be inefficient for depopulation. Veterinarians were extremely concerned about public perception, human safety, and timely depopulation of a large feedlot during an FMD outbreak.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Depopulation of a large feedlot during an FMD outbreak would be difficult to complete in a humane and timely fashion.
Objective—To characterize direct and indirect contacts among livestock operations in Colorado and Kansas.
Design—Cross-sectional quarterly survey.
Sample—532 livestock producers.
Procedures—Livestock producers in Colorado and Kansas were recruited by various means to participate in the survey, which was sent out via email or postal mail once quarterly (in March, June, September, and December) throughout 2011. Data were entered into an electronic record, and descriptive statistics were summarized.
Results—Large swine operations moving animals to other large swine operations had the highest outgoing direct contact rates (range, 5.9 to 24.53/quarter), followed by dairy operations moving cattle to auction or other dairy operations (range, 2.6 to 10.34/quarter). Incoming direct contact rates for most quarters were highest for large feedlots (range, 0 to 11.56/quarter) and dairies (range, 3.90 to 5.78/quarter). For large feedlots, mean total indirect contacts through feed trucks, livestock haulers, and manure haulers each exceeded 725 for the year. Dairy operations had a mean of 434.25 indirect contacts from milk trucks and 282.25 from manure haulers for the year.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—High direct contact rates detected among large swine operations may suggest a risk for direct disease transmission within the integrated swine system. Indirect contacts as well as incoming direct contacts may put large feedlots at substantial risk for disease introduction. These data can be useful for establishing and evaluating policy and biosecurity guidelines for livestock producers in the central United States. The results may be used to inform efforts to model transmission and control of infectious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease in this region.