Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Jiyoung Park, James E. Moore II and Qisheng Pan
Chapter 8: A foot-and-mouth epidemic
Agroterrorism presents an obvious and major terrorist threat to the USA and the world, with the potential for severe economic consequences and significant human health risks. Chalk (2001, p. 2) defines agroterrorism as ‘the deliberate introduction of a disease agent, either against livestock or into the food chain, for purposes of undermining stability and/or generating fear.’ An agroterrorism attack can be implemented at relatively low cost by an attacker. Terrorists can readily contaminate livestock, crops or any targets in the food supply chain, including farms, processing plants and distribution systems. Security levels have been significantly heightened for potential urban targets of terrorism and infrastructure since the attacks of 9/11. However, it remains almost impossible to identify and protect all potential targets of agroterrorism. The agricultural sector is particularly vulnerable because biological attacks on agriculture require relatively little scientific expertise and technology, while a full-scale bioterrorist attack on human populations is more technically challenging (Wheelis et al., 2002).
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