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Agricultural Biowarfare & Bioterrorism

Mark Wheelis

Section of Microbiology, University of California, Davis

Anti-agricultural biowarfare and bioterrorism differ significantly from the same activities directed against humans; for instance, there exist a variety of possibilities for economic gain for perpetrators, and the list of possible perpetrators includes corporations, which may have state-of-the-art technical expertise. Furthermore, attacks are substantially easier to do: the agents aren’t hazardous to humans, delivery systems are readily available and unsophisticated, maximum effect may only require a few cases, delivery from outside the target country is possible, and an effective attack can be constructed to appear natural. This constellation of characteristics makes biological attack on the agricultural sector of at least some countries a very real threat, perhaps more so than attack on the civilian population.


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