Livestock should be disaster ready

Published 11:37 am Monday, May 21, 2007

Owners worried about losing their livestock in the wake a natural catastrophe have at least one step they can take to prevent it.

The Mississippi Board of Animal Health is starting the Animal Disease and Disaster Preparedness Program to register livestock in case of disease outbreak or natural disaster, Adams County Extension Service Director David Carter said.

When Hurricane Katrina came through, most communications were wiped out, which hampered livestock rescue efforts, Carter said.

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“Cattle were being fed hay by helicopter, but some starved to death because no one knew where they were,” he said.

The purpose of the program is to prevent situations like that, Carter said.

It will also be used to warn livestock owners of disease outbreaks, he said.

“A lot of diseases livestock get are airborne, and if a horse in north Mississippi tests positive for something, we’ll be able to alert people (in south Mississippi),” he said.

Mississippi had a similar program in the past, but many were leery of it because they thought they were setting themselves up to be monitored, he said.

“This program exists so if there is another disaster or disease outbreak, we’ll know how to get in touch,” he said.

The information given to the program will be stored in a computer, and will be accessed for no reason except a major event, Carter said.

If an emergency event occurs, everyone will be helped, but those on the list will be helped first, he said.

“They’ll be helped first because we’ll already know where they are,” he said. “I’d like to see people in Adams County sign up so everyone can get equal access as soon as possible,” he said.

The program is for livestock including cattle, goats, sheep, swine and horses.

In other news:

4The Adams County Extension Service will host a pesticide applicator training session May 30 at its office at 75A Carthage Point Road.

The session will begin at 9 a.m. Once participants have completed the program, they will be certified to handle certain kinds of pesticides.

“For many pesticides, you need certification just to buy them,” Carter said.

The program will cost $10. Participants will watch a video and will be tested afterward, he said.

Those interested in either the livestock registration or the pesticide certification program can contact Carter at 601-445-8201.