Animal biowarfare research: historical perspective and potential future attacks.


A biological attack on livestock or poultry could result in the loss of valuable animals, costs related to the containment of outbreaks and the disposal of carcasses, lost trade and other economic effects involving suppliers, transporters, distributors and restaurants; however, it is not possible to secure all livestock, and livestock are much less well guarded than human targets. Thus, the vulnerability of the livestock industry to the introduction of biological agents varies for the following reasons: (i) the majority of lethal and contagious biological agents are environmentally resilient, endemic in foreign countries and harmless to humans, making it easier for terrorists to acquire, handle and deploy these pathogens, (ii) with animals concentrated in fewer production facilities and frequently transported between these facilities, a single pathogen introduction could cause widespread infection and (iii) the extent of human travel around the globe makes it difficult to exclude exotic animal diseases as possible biological agents. Historically, many governments have developed and planned to use biological agents for direct attacks on livestock or poultry. In the past, developed nations have actively developed biological weapons to target animals. The potential spectrum of bioterrorism ranges from isolated acts against individuals by individuals to tactical and strategic military attacks and state-sponsored international terrorism intended to cause mass casualties in animals, humans or both. This review provides an overview of the past development and use of biological weapons and describes potential future attacks.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01505.x

Cite this paper

@article{Yeh2012AnimalBR, title={Animal biowarfare research: historical perspective and potential future attacks.}, author={Jung-Yong Yeh and Jee-Yong Park and Yun Sang Cho and In-Soo Cho}, journal={Zoonoses and public health}, year={2012}, volume={59 8}, pages={536-44} }