ASI Supports Scrapie Appropriations
April 22, 2005
April 22, 2005 - The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) supports President Bush's 2006 appropriations budget request of $19.2 million for scrapie eradication.
In a statement submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives, Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Related Agencies, ASI President Paul Frischknecht began by emphasizing the industry's appreciation for the increased appropriations for the eradication of scrapie to $17.7 million in the fiscal year 2005 budget.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), along with industry and state regulatory efforts, is now in the position to eradicate scrapie from the United States with a multi-year attack on this animal health issue," stated Frischknecht.
As the collective and aggressive efforts of federal and state eradication work has expanded into slaughter-surveillance and other methods and systems, the costs are, as expected, escalating. The industry urged the Subcommittee to support the President's request of $19.2 million for scrapie eradication in the 2006 budget.
Scrapie is one of the families of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy's (TSEs), all of which are the subject of great importance and interest around the globe. USDA/APHIS, along with the support and assistance of the livestock and allied industries, began an aggressive program to eradicate scrapie in sheep and goats three years ago.
The plan will eradicate scrapie by 2010 and with subsequent monitoring and surveillance would allow the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) to declare the United States scrapie-free by 2017. Becoming scrapie-free will have significant, positive-economic impact to the livestock, meat and feed industries and, of course, rid our flocks and herds of this fatal animal disease.
Essential to the eradication effort being accomplished in a timely manner is adequate-appropriated funds. The program cannot function properly without additional personnel, diagnostic support and surveillance activities that depend upon appropriated funds. Funding of $19.2 million will provide for an achievable scrapie eradication program and the eventual scrapie-free status for the United States.
As with the other successful animal disease eradication programs conducted by USDA/APHIS in the past, strong programs at the state level are key. The industry urges the Subcommittee to send a clear message to USDA to budget significant funding toward cooperative agreements with the state animal health regulatory partners.
"In an effort to support the President's increased appropriations for the key USDA sheep programs, including the National Scrapie Eradication Program, I encourage state associations to continue contacting congressional delegations on this critical issue," commented Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33