Due to escalating violence in northern Mexico near the U.S. border, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) is suspending its animal import operations at the southern border ports of Del Rio, Texas, (bordering Acuña, Mexico) and Columbus, N.M. (bordering Palomas, Mexico). VS personnel will no longer enter Mexico at these locations to perform cattle or other animal inspections as part of the import process. These actions are taken in order to ensure the safety of APHIS VS personnel at ports of entry.
VS will make arrangements to inspect cattle shipments that are currently in export pens at Acuña and Palomas; however, no additional cattle will be eligible for inspection after these have been processed. In addition, VS will inspect specifically designated horse shipments entering through Columbus through Saturday, March 10.
For Del Rio, Texas, suspension of all VS import inspection activity became effective at 8 a.m. Friday, March 9, and will continue until further notice. Mexican exporters that have utilized Del Rio/Acuña will be advised to redirect animal shipments to Eagle Pass, Texas.
For Columbus, N.M., suspension of all VS import inspection activity becomes effective at 8 a.m. Sunday, March 11, and will continue until further notice. Mexican exporters that have utilized Columbus/Palomas will be advised to redirect animal shipments to Santa Teresa, N.M.
VS import inspection operations at other southern border ports of entry will continue under the current protocols used by VS to process cattle and other animals imported from Mexico.
Additional updates will be provided as necessary.
This information was received from Joyce Bowling-Heyward, DVM, director, Animal Imports and Exports, APHIS VS National Center for Import and Export.