Declaring war on livestock disease

South Dakota State Roundup

Published July 1, 2001  | July 2001 issue

Fearful of the potential impact on the state economy of foot-and-mouth and mad cow disease, Gov. Bill Janklow hosted a conference in Sioux Falls in May, predicting "total war" if the diseases threaten South Dakota animals. Quarantines, travel bans and martial law would be declared, said the governor, should the state's livestock appear to be endangered.

Janklow pulled together 600 farmers, veterinarians, health experts and tourism officials to discuss the potential for an outbreak in South Dakota and to announce his own battle plan should it occur.

Agriculture officials noted that cattle from 13 states move through the Sioux Falls Stockyards, which can handle up to 8,000 head a day during peak sales periods, presenting high risks of disease transmission. And tourism authorities are alert to the danger of European travelers bringing foot-and-mouth into rural areas. Janklow issued orders in March for travelers from Europe to stay away from farms or ranches for five days, the length of time the foot-and-mouth virus remains viable on human hosts.

Douglas Clement