June 15, 2004
BSE Comment Period Closes
June 2004 -- The comment period on the proposed rule regarding BSE minimal-risk regions and to amend regulations regarding the importation of animals and animal products from Canada closed on April 7, 2004.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) submitted industry comments concerning the proposed rule during the initial period, which supported the re-opening of the market -- provided it was in an orderly fashion so as to prevent a negative impact on U.S. lamb prices.
ASI supported the importation of slaughter lambs and lamb products.
Public comments received by APHIS on this proposed rule can be viewed online at: https://web01.aphis.usda.gov/BSEcom.nsf/BSEFrameset?OpenFrameSet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) re-opened the comment period, initially scheduled to close on Jan. 5, 2004.
Montana Judge Blocks Decision to Allow More Canadian Beef Products into United States
A federal judge in Montana on April 26, 2004, stopped a plan put into place the week before by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that would have allowed for the importation into the United States of all edible beef products from Canadian cattle less than 30 months of age.
The block was prompted by the Billings, Mont.-based Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, which said the decision to allow for the importation of the beef products was enacted without an opportunity for public comment.
USDA Awards $8.8 Million for Animal Disease Research
Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced on April 14, 2004, the contribution by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of $8.8 million to two international research collaboratives seeking to control and eliminate Johne's disease in cattle, sheep and goats and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome in swine.
"These grants will support critical research, education and extension activities to develop practical applications against these diseases," said Veneman.
These diseases cause more than $800 million a year in losses to the industry and the consuming public.