Another busy year at the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) went by quickly as our staff traveled all corners of the state fulfilling our mission—safeguarding Indiana’s citizens, animals and food supply. Here are some highlights and a quick look at where program areas stand.
BOAH works with the State Department of Health to investigate zoonotic diseases throughout Indiana. In 2017, BOAH veterinarians and animal health specialists investigated cases of rabies, Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Seoul virus, avian influenza, and bovine tuberculosis. The range of species in these investigations ranged from rats to boa constrictors to dogs.
Being able to trace animal movement quickly in a disease investigation is critical to detecting, containing and eradicating diseases. BOAH’s ability to trace animal movements quickly is successful because of electronic certificates of veterinary inspection (eCVIs) and premises registration in food animal species.
Last year, 81% of certificates of veterinary inspection issued by Hoosier veterinarians were electronic. BOAH strives to continue to improve animal traceability in Indiana by increasing the percentage of eCVIs issued by private veterinarians.
In Indiana, premises registration is required for all premises with cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and cervids (poultry and equine are voluntary). Since 2006, BOAH has registered 63,834 premises. When a disease of high consequence is detected, premises registration allows BOAH staff to quickly identify and notify animal owners near the infected premises.
Indiana’s animal agriculture industry continued to grow. Last year more than 4 million head of swine were imported into Indiana for feeding, slaughter and exhibition. That’s an increase of 47% in the last 10 years. Likewise, cattle imports also grew. Since 2004, cattle imports have increased by 35%. Last year more than 200,000 head of cattle were brought into Indiana.
BOAH veterinarians and animal health specialists work with law enforcement agencies across the state to investigate animal neglect and abuse cases. Last year BOAH staff spent 3,670 hours investigating animal welfare cases, from animal fighting to hoarding to neglect.
BOAH registers commercial dog breeders—those with more than 20 unaltered females, 12 months of age or older. Indiana has 144 registered commercial dog breeders.
BOAH manages Indiana’s Veterinary Medical Reserve Corps (VMRC). In the event of an emergency, team members may be called to assist in triaging and treating affected animals. In 2017, BOAH received additional grant funds to buy gear for the VMRC.
BOAH provides an important link in Indiana’s food chain by ensuring food safety through inspecting meat processing facilities, dairy farms, and dairy processing facilities.
BOAH’s meat and poultry inspectors observe slaughter and meat processing at 81 official plants and inspect facilities for 39 custom-exempt plants. Last year, state-inspected plants processed more than 144,000 head of livestock and the official establishments processed 16 million pounds of inspected meat. Ten of Indiana’s state inspected plants can ship meat out-of-state under the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program.
BOAH’s dairy division staff inspect about 1,000 dairy farms, 450 milk tanker trucks, and 62 dairy processing facilities. The staff must stay up-to-date on technology as farmers continue to switch to robots to milk cows. Indiana now has 28 dairy farms using robotic milking machines. Increasing demand for local products is driving the growth in farmstead operations where milk is produced, processed, and sold on the farm. Indiana closed out 2017 with 14 farmstead dairy operations, and interest continues to grow.