November 9, 2007
November 9, 2007 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced that Mexico is once again allowing the importation of U.S. sheep intended for immediate slaughter.
Mexico closed its border to U.S. slaughter sheep in July after it was discovered that Mexican importers were using the sheep for breeding programs. It is illegal in Mexico to import sheep for the stated purpose of slaughter but instead use them for breeding.
Since the closure, APHIS veterinary import and export specialists have worked closely with Mexican agricultural officials to reopen the border. All U.S. slaughter sheep destined for Mexico must cross the border at Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico, which is the sister land port of Del Rio, Texas. The export of these animals to Mexico represents a $7 million market for U.S. sheep producers.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has worked continuously with APHIS to negotiate resumption of trade and are monitoring efforts of the exporters for confirmation of slaughter sheep crossing," stated Peter Orwick, ASI executive director. "It will be interesting to see the pace of market response given the number of slaughter ewes in the country that have been on hold for the last couple of months." Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33