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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI
Volume 11 | Issue 11 (November 2021)

Impacts from Wildfires on Livestock Health and Production: Producer Perspectives.

Animals (Basel). November 2021;11(11):.
Kathleen C O'Hara1, Juliana Ranches2, Leslie M Roche3, Tracy Kay Schohr4, Roselle C Busch5, Gabriele U Maier6
1 Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS), School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.; 2 Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center (EOARC), Oregon State University, Burns, OR 97720, USA.; 3 Department of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.; 4 University of California Cooperative Extension, Plumas-Sierra-Butte Counties, Quincy, CA 96130, USA.; 5 Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.; 6 Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Abstract

Wildfires are increasing in frequency and severity across the Western United States. However, there is limited information available on the impacts these fires are having on the livelihood of livestock producers and their animals. This work presents the results of a survey evaluating the direct and indirect impacts of the 2020 wildfire season on beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, and goat, producers in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Seventy completed surveys were collected between May and July 2021. While dairy producers reported no direct impacts from the fires, beef, sheep, and goat producers were impacted by evacuations and pasture lost to fires. Only beef producers reported losses due to burns and burn-associated deaths or euthanasia. Dairy, beef, sheep, and goat producers observed reduced conception, poor weight gain, and drops in milk production. All but dairy producers also observed pneumonia. Lower birthweights, increased abortion rates, and unexplained deaths were reported in beef cattle, sheep, and goats. This work documents the wide-ranging impacts of wildfires on livestock producers and highlights the need for additional work defining the health impacts of fire and smoke exposure in livestock, as well as the policy changes needed to support producers experiencing direct and indirect losses.

Keywords
cattle; livestock; production losses; smoke; wildfires;

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