"A biosecurity guarantee attempts to ensure that ecologies sustaining either people or animals are maintained. This may include natural habitats as well as shelter and productive enterprise (especially agriculture) and deals with threats such as biological warfare or epidemics. This is related to the more passive concept of biosafety." See the exploration of differences in terms below.

means different things in different professions

"Political guarantees of health for persons or animals are necessarily controversial. Such guarantees can form part of almost any organisational means of survival, including of political and economic systems, military doctrine and insurance schemes. Challenges include the proliferation of biological threats, the difficulty of tracking contamination (especially if carried by the natural internal processes of an ecoregion), and numerous political barriers."

"Differing concepts of biosecurity are evolving in many professions. So far the field has focused on attempts to establish uniform standards of risk referencing" such as regret measures established by backcast to fixed time horizon or some other such decision making standard. See also anticipatory democracy.

agriculture definitions

Given lack of such standards, the biodiversity, biotechnology including genetic modification and artificial virus, environmental security and health security debates are not easily separable even from sustainable agriculture policies.

A sampling of 2002 national and professional mandates included commitments to:

  • NZ agriculture and forestry http://www.maf.govt.nz/biosecurity/ "to protect New Zealand's unique biodiversity and facilitate exports by managing risks to plant and animal health and animal welfare" as one of several agencies in the Biocouncil (http://www.maf.govt.nz/Biocouncil/) "managing exotic pests (or recent incursions)". Critics, including the NZ Greens http://www.greens.org.nz/docs/category.asp?cat=68, argue that these measures are insufficient to protect even against normal crop risks.
  • USDA and pork producers http://www.biosecuritycenter.org/nbrctoc.htm to protect food "animal health" via "cleansing and disinfecting", "personal protective equipment", "carcass disposal", "nutrient management" and monitoring of "reportable diseases". Medical emergency response measures, especially in the military, emphasize the same concerns - but with respect to humans.

relation to similar terms

There is some confusion in the definition of biosecurity versus other related terms, in particular the military concept of "biodefense" and the medical idea of "biosafety". In general, biosecurity is the state which both of these more active types of measures protect, but those active measures are not usually the most effective way to protect them.

By contrast, biodefense is active detection of threats too small to detect physically, including artificial molecules, genetic or viral agents, beyond chemical and biological agents that occur in nature or with normal bulk-manufactured techniques. When these rise high above typical background levels of such agents, these threats are called biohazards.

Medical biosafety - see biosafety level 4 for example - organizes biohazard response measures often associated with both biosafety and biodefense measures.

ultimately, a state of mind

Many theoretical definitions and applications of Precautionary Principle and Informed Consent principles to research and development are now extant. Typically these vary by field: ecology, environmental security, health security, agriculture and so on. Sometimes these also result in a variant definition of biosecurity.

To de-escalate potential conflicts, and avoiding errors and 'false positives' that tend to cause escalation and panic responses, is a major focus of all definitions in this field. The ultimate goal of any 'biosecurity', 'biohazard response' or prior restraint arising from stricter definitions of 'biosafety' itself, is probably what differentiates 'biosecurity' (a state of mind and ensurance of retaining same) from 'biodefense' (active hunting and eliminating threats that are deemed to exist).

It is often said that "security is a state of mind." So it is too with biosecurity.

medical biosafety and agricultural biosecurity converging

The difference in medical and agricultural mindsets is sometimes more than a bit obvious:

Despite an attempt by US scientific societies http://www.asa-cssa-sssa.org/biosecurity.html to redefine biosecurity largely in terms of "countering terrorism", and not in terms of addressing unintentional man-made threats" there is
strong evidence that the ideas of medical biosafety and agricultural biosecurity at least are converging: The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a complement to the Convention on Biological Diversity, "makes clear that products from new technologies must be based on the precautionary principle and allow developing nations to balance public health against economic benefits. It will for example let countries ban imports of a genetically modified product."

Nor are these rights restricted to national governments nor developing nations. As of 2005, several counties in California starting with Mendocino county had banned some or all GMO products from being grown locally.

This is a refer link. The definition of this concept is politically contested and it may be a factionally defined term subject to multiple point of view. Further debate can be found on the biosecurity list or en: wikipedia: biosecurity. Some of the propaganda implications of the term are explored at en: disinfopedia: biosecurity.