The American Sheep Industry Association joined 14 other national agricultural organizations to oppose a bill (H.R. 5105/S. 3263) to establish a chief veterinary officer (CVO) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The organizations explained to Reps. Bennie Thompson (Miss.) and Peter King (N.Y.), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Homeland Security Committee, that the CVO of the United States has been housed in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for many years. Although the organizations fully support veterinary expertise at DHS, they believe a duplicative position of CVO is unwarranted and would lead to confusion within the U.S. agriculture industry, among our trading partners and the international animal health community.
Specifically, the CVO is the U.S. representative and delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), represents the United States in bilateral meetings with his or her counterparts in other countries for the purpose of minimizing non-tariff barriers to trade and represents the U.S. government and the U.S. animal industries in negotiations with other countries to prevent undue restrictions on trade in animals and animal products when disease outbreaks occur in the United States.
The confusion created by having a CVO in more than one department of the U.S. government would have significant negative economic, trade and animal health consequences, commented the organizations.