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Center looking to bring together two factions in biosecurity -- law enforcement and animal/plant health experts

By Michelle Hall


If an incidence of agroterrorism were to occur in the United States, two entities would likely be first on the scene: law enforcement and animal/plant health experts.

Marty VanierMarty Vanier, associate director of the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University, pictured at left, said some agriculture-based diseases are so rare but so devastating that when an outbreak occurs, experts know it was intentional.

"If an outbreak was not accidental, law enforcement will be involved," she said.

Although both law enforcement agencies and health experts have as their goal the safety of others, both sides have different ways of achieving this goal.

"In the animal health world, those involved want to stop the spread of disease, clean it up and get it out of here as fast as possible," Vanier said. "Law enforcement is the exact opposite. They need evidence; they want to look at everything to try to make a case against whoever made the attack."

Vanier said the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at K-State is working to figure out ways to bridge the gap to satisfy the objectives of both law enforcement and the animal health communities.

"We're trying to figure out how to both stop disease and at the same time, get evidence," she said.

Bridging that gap means many different things, Vanier said. She said the difference and the need for a compromise will play out in response plans, for example.

National Agricultural Biosecurity Center

Vanier can be reached at 785-532-6193 or mvanier@k-state.edu


Summer 2006