TAHC: Continued support during COVID-19
By Dr. Andy Schwartz, TAHC Executive Director and State Veterinarian
There is no more essential service than one which provides safe, wholesome nutrition to our world, and it is important that we hold ourselves accountable in taking all available precautions to protect that service.
The Texas Animal Health Commission staff and I are committed to protecting the health of the dairy cattle and other Texas livestock during this difficult time. Amidst many uncontrollable factors, I would like to assure you that we are doing all we can to continue serving and protecting you and your animals while maintaining stringent biosecurity precautions.
We encourage you to join us as we all continue to practice good biosecurity on farms to protect one another from COVID-19.
At this time, there is no evidence that dairy cattle can become infected with or spread the new coronavirus, but there are observable parallels we can apply from this human health crisis to our animal agriculture industry.
For decades state and federal agencies, in coordination with the dairy industry, have planned and prepared for potential foreign animal disease outbreaks. None of us could have anticipated or planned for the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing is for certain: preparation, regardless of circumstance is critical.
A continued step in that preparation for potential animal disease threats, and one that I encourage, is the development and continued maintenance of your farm’s Secure Milk and Secure Beef Supply Plans. Just as we see businesses slowing, or in severe situations shutting down, we must do all we can to try and safeguard the continuity of business for dairy farmers and agriculturalists alike. As we experience the severe impact this human disease outbreak is having on production agriculture, it’s a small stretch to imagine the impact a significant animal disease outbreak might have. Developing a secure food supply plan for your operation is one thing you can do ahead of time that might make a difference in the end.
I wish you, your families, and your farms well as we navigate this time together.
The amount of helpful resources is vast. TAHC has developed a FAQ to address animal health concerns. Others we rely on as we monitor the situation are included on the resource page developed by the Texas Association of Dairymen.