As the issue of vaccinations continues to be a topic of conversation and heated debate throughout the country, agriculture is now facing similar discussions in other states and in Nebraska. Bills have been introduced in other states to ban the use of mRNA vaccines in livestock. These vaccines are created with the same technology used in the COVID-19 vaccination.
The conversations stem from vaccine technology that is in use in pork production and is being researched for other forms of livestock as well, though no such vaccine is approved for use in beef cattle. Misinformation on the use of mRNA vaccines in livestock have filtered through social media and other sources allowing proponents of the legislation to speculate that such vaccinations are a way to indirectly vaccinate the populace through the food supply. The consensus from many veterinarians and those in the research community is that the use of or continued research of mRNA vaccines in livestock is needed for faster response to new disease and that no evidence of harm to or effect on the consumer has been shown.
Other state Farm Bureaus have developed policies on this topic and have opposed legislation that would ban the use of the vaccine in livestock, stating that support for veterinary independence and research is key in all livestock vaccinations. The University of Nebraska is developing positions based on its Beef Extension recommendations that support the continuation of use and research according to veterinary recommendations. It is not outside the realm of possibility to see legislation having to do with livestock mRNA vaccines introduced in the next session.
FARM BUREAU POLICY
DISEASE CONTROL (2022). We favor the enactment and enforcement of laws that will assure protection of the livestock industry against importation of disease from any source. We believe the Nebraska Department of Agriculture should have timely access and adequate resources to address emergency disease outbreaks. We urge the Nebraska director of agriculture to work to develop a species-specific program so that a disease outbreak can be contained.
- Should the NEFB take a stance on mRNA vaccines supporting either the limiting, expansion, or research of their use?
- Should veterinary care, including approval of vaccines for livestock, be based on sound science practices and approval of the Food and Drug Administration?
- Is the policy we have sufficient to address the issue of mRNA vaccines specifically, keeping in mind the volatile nature of the subject matter?