NFU urges rejection of APHIS assessment on Brazilian FMD


p>NFU urges rejection of APHIS assessment on Brazilian FMD

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, June 16 - The National Farmers Union (NFU) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) pertaining to food-and-mouth disease (FMD) in relation to Santa Catarina, Brazil. NFU cited potential consequences such diseases could have on U.S. family farmers and ranchers and stressed the importance of protecting the health of domestic livestock and wildlife populations.

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NFU has long-standing policy that supports banning livestock, animal protein products, and meat imports that would jeopardize U.S. efforts to prevent or eradicate livestock diseases,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The economic devastation FMD would cause to the U.S. agricultural industry would be incomparable to any animal disease ever experienced in the United States.”

Santa Catarina has met the 11 qualifications necessary to import a product to the United States, according to the APHIs risk assessment. However, these findings are significantly different from the economic impact associated with the assessment.

According to the assessment, “The proposed rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact,” yet APHIS testified in a 2009 House Agriculture Committee hearing that simulated FMD outbreaks projected losses between $2.8-$14 billion.

Conflicting reports are also present in determining the last reported case of FMD in Brazil. The APHIS assessment shows confirmation in 2005, yet the World Organization for Animal Health cites the last case occurred in 2006.

APHIS should not allow animals with even a slight risk of communicable disease infection to be imported by the United States, especially for disease that could easily spread across the entire country in a matter of days,” said Johnson. “NFU urges the rejection of this assessment, retaining current restrictions on imported livestock from Brazil until more scientific evidence can be presented.”

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