Careful management helps protect livestock from viruses

Dan Dunkin News & Experts

The coronavirus has impacted enormous numbers of people, but the disease is suspected to have started in animals.

While the specific animal source hasn’t been identified, the virus originated at a wet market – where both dead and live animals are sold – in Wuhan, China. Such outdoor markets with insufficient hygiene practices increase the risk of viruses being transmitted from animals to humans.

Unsanitary settings also have been the origin of other viruses, such as Zika and West Nile, that have long been infecting livestock across America – and, like the coronavirus, can be transmitted to humans. David Anderson (, president and CEO of Bar-Bar-A, a company that produces automatic livestock drinkers, says stagnant water – which collects bacteria and where mosquitoes gather and become virus carriers – is a big source of the problem.

“When you have standing water out in the fields from rain or irrigation, stagnant drinking troughs in the heat, or any places livestock such as horses or cattle drink, it attracts mosquitoes,” Anderson says. “Algae-infested ponds are another. The more mosquitoes, the more risk of contracting a virus.

Anderson suggests the following ways to reduce the risks of people, pets and livestock getting viruses such as the West Nile and Zika:

Reduce the amount of standing water. This is where mosquitoes breed, but there are many places they gather besides ponds, puddles, and drinking troughs.

Avoid sharing equipment.

“Animals often gather in packs to drink and eat, but to decrease exposure or chances of a virus spreading, avoid letting them share feed tubs and water troughs or buckets in herds,” Anderson says.

Practice good landscaping.

“Very weedy and shallow waterways that receive a good amount of excess runoff from fertilizers or manure can be havens for mosquitoes,” Anderson says. “Prevent such runoff through proper drainage, minimal fertilizer use, and buffer zones between open fields and wetlands. Control the weeds and keep old leaves from piling up.”

About David Anderson

D. George Anderson ( is an animal advocate, entrepreneur and President/CEO of Bar-Bar-A Horse & Livestock Drinkers. A proponent for horse and livestock safe keeping, his company has pushed to eliminate the potential for shock and electrocution of livestock, stemming from the use of water and electricity and the standing water than can contribute to viruses and unhealthy drinking water for animals. A developer of varied products and designs, he received an International MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, AZ. An international traveling enthusiast, he studied Hebrew in Israel, Arabic in North Africa and Mandarin Chinese in Beijing.