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Biosecurity in Practice - Foreign Animal Disease (FAD)


Impact of Foreign Animal Disease (FAD)

Any outbreak of an Office International des Épizooties List A disease, such as classical swine fever or foot and mouth disease, has severe consequences for animal welfare, livestock production, trade, and the environment. The economic impact of any foreign animal disease in an export oriented economy like Canada’s is measured in billions of dollars of losses. The economic impact of BSE, a relatively noninfectious disease that affected very few animals, was in excess of $10 billion. Government sources estimate the potential financial loss of an FMD incursion into Canada would be $30 billion


The loss of export markets and restricted movement of livestock and livestock products paints a grim picture and underscores the importance of preparedness. The better prepared the industry is to detect and respond to the introduction of foreign animal disease, the quicker and easier it will be for the industry to fully recover.


The early detection of a foreign animal disease in Canada’s food animal industry is critical for mounting an effective disease response. Producers and veterinarians play a critical role in early detection. The producer-veterinarian relationship is a powerful tool toward early detection of potential foreign animal diseases. Awareness of the symptoms and understanding regulatory responsibilities and response mechanisms to FAD's becomes a key element of control and recovery.


Public concern with the animal welfare effects of traditional disease eradication methods that result in destruction of large numbers of uninfected animals has forced reconsideration of disease eradication policy in Europe. In many recent List A disease epizootics, the financial cost of addressing animal welfare concerns in healthy animals has greatly exceeded the cost of stamping out disease in infected herds. In the event of a similar incursion in Canada, the number of animals subject to welfare slaughter will be far greater than the number of infected animals killed. Current national disease eradication plans in Canada do not address the animal welfare component of disease control methods (Whiting, 2003).



Foreign animal diseases (FAD) are diseases caused by a transmissible infectious agent, currently exotic to Canada. Typically there is potential for rapid spread and immediate reaction by trading partners that seriously affects access of Canadian animals and animal products to foreign markets. Recently, in western industrialized countries where mass eradication has been practices, public debate over the extreme costs and ethical issues required to achieve eradication has increased. The 2001 FMD epizootic in the United Kingdom (2001-FMD-UK) gave rise to 3 major forums for public criticism of the FAD response, in particular, and agricultural practices related to producing human food of animal origin.


Societal concerns related to control of highly infectious animal disease through “slash and burn” policies fall roughly into 5 categories: 1) the waste of food resources in a time of global hunger; 2) the environmental concerns related to carcass disposal; 3) the societal aversion to the mass killing of healthy animals as part of a disease control action; 4) the challenge associated with assuring the humane killing of animals under field conditions; and 5) animal suffering on farms due to conditions that develop secondary to animal movement restrictions.



The following links will assist veterinarians in identifying potential FAD's and understanding the impact these have on the livestock industry and society in general.


USDA-APHIS-Emergency Preparedness

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

FAD Training and Videos

Economic Impacts of Foreign Animal Disease

Source: United States Department of Agriculture

Economic Impacts of FAD


Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness

Source: Province of British Columbia

Foreign animal disease preparedness

Biohazard Containment and Safety

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Biohazard Containment


Role of the Private Veterinarian in the Diagnosis of Foreign Animal Diseases

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Role of Veterinarian - FAD Diagnosis

Government Emergency Plans

Source: Government of Alberta, Emergency Management Agency

Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Support Plan

Healthy Bird Fact Sheet

Source: University of Guelph

Keeping Your Birds Healthy - FAD - 404 error


Foreign Animal Disease: Is there a threat? What can we do?

Source: Manitoba Agriculture and Food

FAD - Is there a threat? - 404 error


Plum Island Animal Disease Center - Wikipedia

Foreign Animal Diseases

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency


Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Support Plan

Source: Government of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture & Rural Development

FAD Emergency Support Plan


Foreign Animal Disease Eradication Support Plan for British Columbia - 404 error

F.A.D.E.S. 2010 Plan, Federal / Provincial Agreement in British Columbia


Agriculture: Foreign Animal Disease Planning

Source: Department of Agriculture, Prince Edward Island, Canada


Foreign Animal Disease Emergency Support Plan - Alberta

Alberta F.A.D.E.S., 12-February, 2010 - 404 error

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Laboratory Services Page

Foreign animal disease outbreaks

Source: The Canadian Veterinary Journal

Foreign animal disease outbreaks, the animal welfare implications for Canada: Risks apparent from international experience Terry L. Whiting


Homeland Security - National Biosecurity Resource Center

Source: Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Current Course Offerings for the Veterinary Homeland Security Graduate Certificate Program