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Epizootics in Industrial Livestock Production: Preventable Gaps in Biosecurity and Biocontainment

Leibler, J. H., Dalton, K., Pekosz, A., Gray, G. C., Silbergeld, E. K.
Zoonoses and public health 2017 v.64 no.2 pp. 137-145
animal manure management, avian influenza, biocontainment, biosecurity, corporations, disease transmission, farmers, farms, food animals, humans, issues and policy, livestock production, management systems, meat production, pathogens, porosity, risk, risk reduction, stocking rate, ventilation systems, United States
While technological advances in animal husbandry have facilitated increases in global meat production, the high density and geographic concentration of food animal production facilities pose risks of infectious disease transmission. The scale of the 2014–2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 outbreak in the United States demonstrates the challenges in achieving pathogen control within and around industrial animal facilities using existing technologies. We discuss gaps in current practice in two specific systems within these facilities – ventilation and waste management – which are under‐recognized as important drivers of microbial porosity. The development of innovative ventilation systems to reduce influx and efflux of pathogens is critically needed, and cross‐sectoral partnerships should be incentivized to do so. Adapting current human biosolid treatment technologies for farm applications, reducing animal stocking density and shifting waste management responsibility from farmer to corporation would reduce risk from current manure management systems. While innovative approaches to functionally altering the industrial food animal production system remain important priorities to promote sustainability, our intention here is to identify gaps within the current system that allow for pathogen emergence and transmission and address specific areas in which technological, administrative or policy changes are necessary to mitigate these risks.