Dr. Ashley Peterson, National Chicken Council vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, on Thursday spoke before the White House National Science and Technology Council Foreign Animal Disease Threats Interagency Working Group (FADT IWG).   Her presentation included an overview of the poultry industry; the industry’s research and development priorities; and outlined critical needs to prevent, detect, and control foreign animal diseases.

The FADT IWG is an interagency working group under the National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Homeland and National Security, Subcommittee on Biological Defense Research and Development.  The working group consists of representatives from the Department of Agriculture; Department of Defense; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Homeland Security; Department of the Interior; Department of Justice; Department of State; Environmental Protection Agency; National Science Foundation; and the Smithsonian Institution.  The FADT IWG works to address agricultural research and development gaps as they pertain to foreign animal disease threats to U.S. livestock.

Specifically, Dr. Peterson provided a historical overview of the broiler industry and advances the industry has made with regards to genetics, production, and bird health.  She discussed industry-funded research as it pertains to avian diseases and outlined the importance of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association’s industry research grants program.  Her presentation also outlined several areas where more research is needed especially on Newcastle Disease, Infectious Bursal Disease Virus, and Avian Influenza.  In addition, she outlined several collaborative projects between industry and the federal government and highlighted the importance of ARS research, APHIS monitoring of Avian Influenza, and the critical importance of the National Poultry Improvement Plan to the poultry industry.