New Jersey State Veterinarian Dr. Ernest
W. Zirkle was recently honored for his leadership role
in addressing animal health issues by the National
Assembly of Chief Livestock Health Officials.
Zirkle received the Assembly's annual award Oct.
20 during the joint general session of the U.S. Animal
Health Association and the American Association of
Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. State regulatory
officials from across the United States attended
the session, which was held in St. Louis, Mo.
The Assembly recognized Zirkle for his outstanding
contributions to U.S. animal health in a regulatory
field, citing his efforts to address viruses in live-bird
poultry markets and his work to develop a system
for tracking the West Nile virus in horses.
Zirkle also helped develop the current version
of the Animal Health Protection Act, which Congress
approved earlier this year. The Act modernizes and
updates ways the nation should keep out foreign animal
diseases and how to respond to those diseases should
they occur in the United States.
He also participated in a number of international
forums to foster a better understanding of animal
health issues worldwide.
"Dr. Zirkle has been instrumental in spearheading
the Department of Agriculture's efforts to protect
New Jersey's livestock and develop cooperative solutions
to address animal health issues nationwide," said
Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. "This
is a well-deserved honor for someone who has made
significant contributions to protecting and improving
animal health over more than 20 years of service
to the State of New Jersey."
Zirkle, 66, has worked for the New Jersey Department
of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health for 23
years. He has served as State Veterinarian and Director
of the Animal Health since 1989. He is a resident
of Fairton, Cumberland County.
The Division of Animal Health maintains disease control
programs to protect the health of New Jersey's livestock.
The division tracks information about emerging diseases
around the world that may impact New Jersey, conducts
epidemiological investigations of livestock diseases
and drug residues, operates an animal health diagnostic
library, manages a quarantine facility for imported
horses and supports an aggressive Johne's disease program
to control this bacterial gastrointestinal disease
in dairy cows.