September 19, 2003
The Mexican port of Del Rio was reopened to slaughter ewes this week according to written communication from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of the General Directorate for Animal Health in Mexico.
Since May, there have been challenges in exporting sheep across the border to Mexico, which has had a negative effect on the price of slaughter ewes in North America. Government officials in Mexico have been discussing the possibility of changing the scrapie requirements for slaughter sheep entering their country. This evolving policy change resulted in the border being essentially closed to slaughter sheep beginning in mid-August.
Through continued deliberations between USDA and Mexican officials, the issues surrounding the closure of the border have been resolved for slaughter ewes and wethers. There is still, however, a prohibition on the importation of rams into Mexico, and USDA is continuing its discussions with counterparts on this and other related issues.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has worked closely with USDA throughout this long process and helped provide input for its resolution.
?This is a critical time for the border to be re-opened since many producers are moving their flocks off summer range this month,? stated Paul Rodgers, deputy director of policy for ASI.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, 304-647-9981