Advertisement

Our Opinion: Keep a watchful eye

April 05, 2001

Fortunately, North America has not yet been infected by diseases that have become plagues in Europe — mad cow and foot and mouth disease. Does that mean we are safe in America and here in the Imperial Valley? Not necessarily. We are talking about diseases that spread easily and could decimate the local cattle industry if they spread here.

For that reason the county Agriculture Commissioner's Office and those in the local cattle industry deserve credit for keeping a watchful eye on something that could prove a huge problem in the Imperial Valley. One cattleman is not taking any chances and is using disinfectant on vehicles driving onto his ranch. To some that might seem extreme, but it makes sense to take precautions.

Now is an important time in the cattle industry for the Imperial Valley. Not only is the industry already a major contributor to the local economy, it is on the verge of growing.

Advertisement

A beef-processing plant is being built in Brawley, one that could lead to growth in the Valley cattle industry. While we have yet to see how many local investors there are in the plant, we would guess there are a number of local cattleman who have placed their hopes on the success of the plant. A disease like foot and mouth could tear through the cattle industry and hurt the beef plant's chances for success.

It is also a time when local officials are working toward attracting more dairies to the Valley. We would like to see the dairy industry grow here because of what it would mean to the economy. Should a disease like foot and mouth spread, it would, at least for a time, kill all efforts to attract dairies.

Therefore, it is wise to remain vigilant about the issue and to even go one step further by being prepared should the disease head this way.

We have been lucky so far, but luck can quickly run out. By being aware of what could happen we can help prevent the problem from coming here, preserve a local industry and concentrate on the industry's growth.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles
|
|
|