September 15, 2003
ASI, USDA Working to Get Adult Sheep into Mexico
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) on a regular basis regarding the exportation of adult sheep from the United States into Mexico.
At the urging of ASI, USDA/APHIS has been in close contact with Mexican government officials, and has laid out compliance procedures in regards to the recent notification of new scrapie requirements on sheep being imported into Mexico. The department is awaiting a response.
ASI believes the United States can comply with the spirit of Mexico?s notice and provide appropriate assurances regarding the health status of the sheep being exported.
Mexico normally buys the majority of the U.S. adult sheep supply, thus the slow-down at the southern border is resulting in reduced prices.
Canadian Government Slaughtering Sheep Due to Scrapie
The Canadian federal government continues to slaughter thousands of sheep in eastern Quebec in an attempt to control the spread of scrapie.
Since 1998, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has ordered the slaughter of 21,992 Quebec sheep, including 1,048 so far this year. The 1998 outbreak of scrapie led to the slaughter of 8,000 sheep in eastern Quebec, and thousands more have since been slaughtered.
Jean-Francois Samray of the Quebec Sheep Federation said the new cases are all connected to the 1998 outbreak. Sheep with scrapie can take up to five years to show symptoms.
In 2004, Canadian sheep producers will be required to permanently tag and trace all sheep and goats born and sold in Canada.
Canadian Sheep Farmers Also Suffering From BSE Scare
The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) spotlight has largely been on Canada?s beef industry, but farmers at the Canadian Classic Sheep Show and Sale say access to the United States is crucial for their industry as well.
The U.S. border was closed to Canadian cattle on May 20 after a single case of BSE was confirmed in an Alberta cow. However, the border also closed to other ruminants such as sheep, elk and bison.
?We were kind of caught in the crossfire, and that?s the frustrating thing about it,? commented sheep producer Gordon Schroeder to the Canadian Press. ?We can?t move anything across the border. The feedlot industry is worried about not being able to move their lambs across, so they?ve quit buying. Right now, everything is basically at a standstill.?
The Canadian Sheep Federation reported that total exports of live sheep and processed product from Canada to the United States last year were worth about $20 million.
Live Sheep Exporters Told to Clean Up Act
Australia?s live sheep exporters have been told to clean up their act, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The billion-dollar export trade is under renewed scrutiny, with more than 85,000 sheep deaths on ships reported in 2001-2002.
Launching the opposition?s live export policy, Labor?s primary industry spokesperson, Kerry O?Brien, says the Federal Government has failed to impose adequate animal welfare standards.
?I know players in the industry that are concerned about the industry?s reputation and they will do everything they can to ensure the industry survives,? O?Brien said.
FMD in Bolivia and Paraguay
Both Bolivia and Paraguay in late July reported outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Bolivia confirmed four cases while Paraguay confirmed 13. The infected animals in both countries will be destroyed, and many more will be closely monitored.