Because of foot and mouth disease and so-called "mad cow" disease in Europe, all nations now are taking extra precautions to insure the safety of food that's imported as well as certifying what they are exporting elsewhere.
A veterinary telemedicine research and development project entering its second stage at Kansas State University is attempting to create the infrastructure to monitor the health of cattle remotely, and if the researchers are successful, the system would give livestock producers and veterinarians heads-up to emerging disease.
The National Science Foundation has awarded $899,996 to K-State researchers for five years of study. "Information Technology Research: An Infrastructure for Veterinary Telemedicine Proactive Herd Health Management for Disease Prevention from Farm to Market" begins in October 2003.
The research team includes principal investigator Dan Andresen, a computing and information scientist; Steve Warren, an electrical and computer engineer; and veterinary researchers Howard Erickson, David Poole and Mark Spire. The grant also will provide support for several graduate students.
"The traceability of meat is the real issue here," Andresen said. "Someday, we'll have to know exactly what herd, and what animal, any slice of meat has comes from." Minus such an identification system, beef export markets could close to U.S. producers.
The K-State researchers already received a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in 2002 for a critical first step in this telemedicine project, to demonstrate "proof of concept." Could sensors placed on a cow, in fact, identify the animal, give its location and accumulate and store reliable health data like its heart
Contact: Dan Andresen
Kansas State University