The lead federal agency in safeguarding American livestock and poultry health, and in responding to a foreign animal, emerging or re-emerging disease, is the USDA-APHIS, Veterinary Services Division (VS). Veterinary Services protects and improves the health, quality, and marketability of our nation's animals, animal products and veterinary biologics by:
Preventing, controlling and/or eliminating animal diseases, and
Monitoring and promoting animal health and productivity
APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine, the Federal response agency for plant health emergencies, develops and delivers strategic science-based regulatory programs designed to protect US crops and natural resources.
The National Center for Imports and Exports division of APHIS prevents animals carrying disease from entering our country. The NCIE is charged with inspecting animals presented at the border and regulate the import and export of animals and animal products.
The Office of Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security inspects shipments as they enter our ports to prevent the entry of weapons or products that may be used for bioterrorism.
The lead agencies within states charged with responding to a suspected or confirmed agroterrorism incident will vary from state to state. In some states, the lead agency is likely to be the Department of Agriculture (or similarly named agency). In other states, the lead might be a state health department. These agencies will work in close cooperation with various governmental animal and plant diagnostic laboratories in the process of documenting, investigating, and tracking an event.
In addition, each state has a White House-designated lead agency charged with the mission of homeland security. Generally, these are the people in the states' departments of public safety, another important partner in protecting our agricultural system.
In most situations, the government prefers that the response to emergencies and disaster events be controlled at a local level. Various protocols allow for local officials to request assistance from state, regional, and national agencies that provide further assistance. The specifics of LOCAL response could include personnel representing:
Local law enforcement
Emergency medical services
Emergency managers (city, county, regional)
Veterinarians and other health professionals