July 11, 2008
July 11, 2008 - In a letter to Sens. Tim Johnson (S.D.) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.), American Sheep Industry Association President Burdell Johnson (N.D.) applauded the introduction of legislation they introduced on Thursday regarding the Foot and Mouth Disease Prevention Act of 2008.
"This legislation is important to the future of a healthy sheep industry in the United States," commented Johnson.
Essentially, the bill would keep the status quo. Ruminants and swine and fresh or frozen ruminant and pork products from any region of Argentina would be prohibited until the U.S. Department of Agriculture can certify to congress that Argentina is free of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). The bill ensures that Argentina must achieve a FMD-free status without vaccination, the acceptable standard for trade and ensures that the disease has been eradicated from the country.
The bill does not prohibit the importation of dried, cured or cooked product; it would only prohibit product that poses a risk for disease transmission, including live animals.
Co-sponsoring the bill are Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Pete Domenici (N.M.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Ken Salazar (Colo.) and Wayne Allard (Colo.).
"The industry commends the leadership of these senators in addressing appropriate livestock and meat-trade standards on behalf of the nation's livestock industry," concluded Johnson. "The 2001 outbreak of FMD in England led to the destruction of 6 million animals with an economic cost of nearly $20 million. Our industry would have a hard time surviving an impact of this magnitude." Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33