. "Problems of Biological Security in Agriculture--Georgy A. Safonov and Vladimir A. Gavrilov." Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four Workshops. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Russian Views on Countering Terrorism During Eight Years of Dialogue: Extracts from Proceedings of Four U.S.-Russian Workshops
in the literature provide rather complete coverage of various aspects of the use of pathogens to cause economic, moral, and physical harm to a healthy population.1
It is generally known that for the majority of countries, agriculture serves as the main source of foodstuffs and raw materials. A sharp reduction in food resources is always accompanied by demoralization and the worsening of demographic indicators regarding the health of the population.
The economic costs involved in fighting epizootic diseases are practically always enormous, not to mention the costs of protecting health and preventing financial damages associated with quarantine measures and reduced labor productivity. One must also consider the additional costs of maintaining personnel to monitor the appearance of infection foci, diagnose animal diseases, quarantine infected individuals, restrict the transport of animals, test the quality of meat and milk, and certify these and other livestock-related products as unfit for sale if necessary. This is a far from complete list of the economic costs borne by the state and counted on by the terrorists. It does not take into account the psychological trauma suffered by farmers and the population as a whole.
Broad-scale movements of people and migrations of animals could serve as the basis for widespread contacts with contaminated food, feed, and water. The population is becoming increasingly mobile (due to tourism and searches for work and new places of residence), while international shipments of animals and livestock-related products are also on the rise. Often, the appropriate safety measures are not taken. Refugees, victims of natural disasters, participants in massive pilgrimages and other religious observances, and individuals temporarily living in crowded conditions represent a favorable target for acts of bioterrorism, especially those involving animal-borne pathogens. In such situations, control and monitoring of animals is usually weakened or completely lacking; therefore, animals in such circumstances can represent a likely source for the transmission of zoonoses.
The destruction of food supplies could be the consequence not only of climatic anomalies, but also of the inadvertent or intentional spread of diseases among animals or plants. For example, practically all the cattle in the Philippines died as a result of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in 1917-1927. Outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in England (2001) and classical swine fever in Denmark and Holland (1998-1999) not only caused enormous economic losses of more than 3 billion U.S. dollars, but also completely paralyzed economic life in these countries. An outbreak of African swine fever in Cuba (1976) was no less grievous. Another example is the epidemic of Rift Valley fever in Egypt (1977), in which by the most conservative estimates more than 500 people died and another 18,000 became ill in just one year, not to mention the cases suffered by animals.2
The spatial (territorial) or varietal rotation of pathogens always inflicts the heaviest consequences. This can occur not only by means of evolution, but also as a result of the accidental or intentional spread of an active agent.
In recent years, the world community has become increasingly concerned