U.S. Forest Service crewmember Bill Scripp finishes the job of sawing downed trees at Forest Park in Queens, NY on Nov. 4, 2012 to make passage safe for residents. The park is a major walking thoroughfare, including popular recreational trails. Bill Scripp belongs to the Wayne National Forest, in Ohio Valley, OH. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.
All this week, Americans are pausing to reflect on the devastation caused when Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore on the eastern seaboard. Over 160 people died, property was damaged, lives were disrupted, families were torn apart and jobs were affected.
USDA helped the recovery effort in a number of ways, and while we are proud of our work, we also learned from the experience in order to assist those affected by future catastrophes.
Our first task was helping those who were facing hunger. Following a disaster, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides nutrition assistance to disaster survivors through disaster USDA Foods Distribution Programs and by authorizing the implementation of the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D SNAP). In addition, FNS approves waivers that simplify the SNAP benefit replacement process to aid ongoing SNAP households affected by a disaster. Read more »
Dr. Muhammad Afzal of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) holds a bottle of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine to show it becomes cloudy when it warms and is no longer usable. USDA helps keep FMD vaccinations cold and viable through its Program for the Progressive Control of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Pakistan.
Dr. Muhammad Afzal of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) holds up a bottle of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine to show what happens when the cold chain is broken. The vaccine is spoiled, cloudy with precipitates and no longer effective. Fortunately, this was a test bottle and 500,000 additional doses of vaccine are safely stored in a modern cold room provided by USDA as part of its Program for the Progressive Control of FMD in Pakistan. Read more »
Years passed, but no one was able to get near the stray dog roaming the 90 acres of the Ely Shoshone Tribal District in Nevada. Tribal members had tried many times to corral her, to no avail.
Then, in 2011, the stray became pregnant, giving birth to a litter under a walkway at the tribe’s clinic. Occasionally, the puppies were heard crying, but a few weeks later their cries grew less noticeable. When employees became concerned, they resorted to tearing up the walkway. Only one of three puppies was still alive, but it soon died after being taken to a veterinarian for care.
Many communities in the United States, including Native American tribes like the Ely Shoshone, face similar problems when dogs and cats are not spayed or neutered. Frequently, when humans are unable to take care of their unsprayed or unneutered animals, they abandon them — bringing problems ranging from cats forming feral colonies to abandoned dogs becoming wild packs. Worse, a significant public health threat looms from potential dog bites and animals carrying diseases that can be transmitted to humans, primarily through ticks. Read more »
Animal Care inspector Bob Markmann conducts an inspection at a commercial dog breeding facility.
USDA/APHIS’ Animal Care program enforces the federal Animal Welfare Act, which sets standards for humane care and treatment that must be provided for certain animals that are exhibited to the public, bred for commercial sale, used in biomedical research, or transported commercially. Individuals/entities that operate facilities using animals in these ways must provide their animals with proper veterinary care, adequate housing, appropriate nutrition, etc. Read more »
Dr. Morgan, pictured here with her horse, Belle, knew at a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian when, on a road trip with her parents, she saw the horses in Louisville and Lexington.
Hello, I’m Dr. Andrea (Andy) Morgan, Associate Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)’s Animal Care (AC) program. In 1985, when I hadn’t been out of vet school long and was working at a small animal practice, I got ahold of a brochure about APHIS’ Public Veterinary Practice Career Program. I was interested in working not just with small animals but with other animals, too—exotic animals and horses, to name a few. So I joined APHIS that year, and here I am, still working for the agency 26 years and many important experiences later. Read more »
In late May, two zoos in central North Dakota were hit hard by flooding. The disaster prompted the need for a swift evacuation of the animals. In Bismarck, the Missouri River threatened to submerge the Dakota Zoo and its 500+ animals under as much as seven feet of water, and in Minot the Roosevelt Park Zoo was a potential target of the rising Souris River, which runs directly through the city.
During the height of the flooding, APHIS’ Animal Care Program monitored reports coming from the zoos and kept abreast of river levels. Inspector Amy Jirsa-Smith contacted zoo officials regularly. She was on-site at both facilities, and helped corral some animals at the Dakota Zoo so they could be transported to other facilities. However, she is quick to point out that the zoo staff at both facilities, with the assistance of several cooperating state and local agencies, state veterinarians, four neighboring zoos and the National Guard, had everything under control. Read more »