Animal Care: A Top Priority

Farmers and ranchers’ top priority is protecting the security, well-being and health of both their animals and the people who buy beef. Farmers and ranchers follow industry-wide, science-based animal care guidelines and work together with veterinarians to ensure top-notch healthcare for their herds.

During an FMD outbreak, farmers and ranchers will apply the same principles of animal welfare that they use every day. These practices are often certified through industry programs, like Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) and Pork Quality Assurance (PQA). These programs assist farmers and ranchers in developing and maintaining herd health plans that follow good veterinary and agriculture practices based on scientific research. Further, they ensure animals are handled in a way that minimizes stress and injury, and they put the animal’s health and safety top-of-mind.

FMD Symptoms

FMD is not generally fatal to animals, but it does spread quickly and causes serious illness among cattle. The first signs of FMD include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and painful blisters on the feet and mouth. Though these blisters can heal, they can lead to secondary infections, such as foot infections or mastitis, which can be very painful for animals and can take a long time to heal. In fact, once the animals fall ill, they never make a full recovery to their health and size prior to getting infected. 

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Monitoring

Monitoring + Prevention

Find out how farmers and ranchers are working with professionals to avoid an FMD outbreak.

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Cooking Beef

Consumer Safety

According to the USDA, FDA, CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), FMD is not a threat to food safety or human health.

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Frequently Asked Questions

According to the USDA, FDA, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), FMD is not a threat to food safety or human health. It is safe to consume meat and milk.
FMD is not generally fatal to animals, but it does spread quickly and causes serious illness among cattle, pigs and other cloven (or divided) hooved animals. The first signs of FMD include fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and painful blisters on the feet and mouth. Though these blisters can heal, they can lead to secondary infections, such as foot infections or mastitis, which can be very painful for animals and can take a long time to heal. 
FMD is a very serious illness for cloven-hooved animals, which is why it’s paramount to prevent the disease from entering the U.S. and containing it immediately if it does cross our borders. Animals that contract FMD may experience fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and painful blisters on the feet and mouth. Though these blisters can heal, they can lead to secondary infections, such as foot infections or mastitis, which can be very painful for animals and can take a long time to heal. 
FMD symptoms such as blisters heal over a period of approximately 10 days. However, secondary conditions as a result of FMD, such as foot infections or mastitis, can take much longer to recover.11 In fact, once the animals fall ill, they never make a full recovery to their health and size prior to getting infected.
Yes. Farmers and ranchers will increase cleaning and disinfection protocols on all farm and transport equipment, limit entry to the farm and require clean or disposable clothing and footwear when entry is necessary. Further, farmers and ranchers will increase animal health and disease monitoring, including checking on animals more frequently.