Agroterrorism targeting livestock: a review with a focus on early detection systems

A.R.W. Elbers, R. Knutsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Agroterrorism targeting livestock can be described as the intentional introduction of an animal disease agent against livestock with the purpose of causing economic damage, disrupting socioeconomic stability of a country, and creating panic and distress. This type of terrorism can be alluring to terrorists because animal disease agents are easily available. This review addresses the vulnerabilities of the livestock industry to agroterrorism. However, we also show that early detection systems have recently been developed for agroterrorism and deliberate spread of animal pathogens in livestock, including an agroterrorism intelligence cycle, syndromic surveillance programs, and computer-based clinical decision support systems that can be used for early detection of notifiable animal diseases. The development of DIVA-vaccines in the past 10 to 15 years has created, in principle, an excellent response instrument to counter intentional animal disease outbreaks. These developments have made our animal agriculture less vulnerable to agroterrorism. But we cannot relax; there are still many challenges, in particular with respect to integration of first line of defense, law enforcement, and early detection systems for animal diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S25-S35
JournalBiosecurity and Bioterrorism: biodefense strategy, practice and science
Issue numbers1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • classical swine-fever
  • mouth-disease epidemic
  • avian influenza
  • descriptive epidemiology
  • biological terrorism
  • animal-disease
  • agricultural diseases
  • clinical signs
  • united-states
  • foot


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