November 15, 2003
MEXICO BORDER UPDATE
Nov. 2003 -- The Mexican port of Del Rio was reopened to slaughter ewes in mid-September according to written communication from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the General Directorate for Animal Health in Mexico.
Since May, there have been challenges in exporting sheep across the border to Mexico, which has had a negative effect on the price of slaughter ewes in North America. Government officials in Mexico have been discussing the possibility of changing the scrapie requirements for slaughter sheep entering their country. This evolving policy change resulted in the border being essentially closed to slaughter sheep beginning in mid-August.
Through continued deliberations between USDA and Mexican officials, the issues surrounding the closure of the border have been resolved for slaughter ewes and wethers. There is still, however, a prohibition on the importation of rams into Mexico, and USDA is continuing its discussions with counterparts on this and other related issues.
The American Sheep Industry Association has worked closely with USDA throughout this long process and provided input for its resolution.
MEXICO LIFTS BAN ON IMPORTS OF CANADIAN BEEF
Nov. 2003 -- The Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Foodstuffs (SAGARPA) on Oct. 1, 2003, published in Mexico?s Federal Registrar partial lifting of the restrictions on imports of Canadian beef to Mexico. The restriction was instituted on May 20, 2003, in response to the discovery of BSE in Canada.
On Oct. 2, 2003, Canada was allowed to begin exporting to Mexico fresh, chilled or frozen beef meat, obtained from animals less than 30 months old.
BLUETONGUE LIVESTOCK IN ITALY
Nov. 2003 -- According to a report submitted by Italy to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), Italy has lost almost 500,000 sheep in the largest spread of bluetongue (BT) yet to affect Europe.
Since its initial detection in Italy three years ago, BT has succeeded in ?overwintering? at least twice, causing significant losses to the extensive Italian sheep industry. This outbreak of BT has persisted across three seasons, from August 2000 through April 2002, and has involved four different serotypes of the disease ? BTV-2, BTV-9, BTV-4 and BTV-16.
A vaccination regiment was established in 2002 in conjunction with strict animal movement controls to further reduce the spread of infection.
SCRAPIE FOUND IN JAPAN
Nov. 2003 -- According to Japan Today, a female sheep in Hokkaido has tested positive for scrapie. It is the first time in two years an infected sheep has been discovered in Japan. This latest case is the 60th of its kind in Japan since the first was discovered in 1984.