Health Concerns Arise Over Cattle Smuggling11 February 2013
COLOMBIA – Government concerns are mounting around news of cattle smugglers bringing animals into Colombia over the over the Venezuelan border.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Colombian Agricultural Institute have warned that serious livestock diseases, such as Foot and Mouth disease, could re-enter into the country which would mean losing FMD free status.
Economic impacts have caused worry. Important trade links to Lebanon, Venezuela, Egypt, Angola and Russia could be jeopardised if border control security is not improved.
Venezuela has been reported to have lower standards in disease control. Statesmen have said the smuggling of cattle and other agricultural products has been rising through the last quarter of 2012.
"We are concerned about the smuggling increase in the last quarter of 2012 and the threat that criminal activity poses to the health status of the country and the livestock outlook,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Restrepo Salazar.
Mr Salazar is proud of the animal health work that has been done in Colombia resulting in major advances in brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. He stated that ground lost in the fight against cattle disease due to criminal smuggling would be intolerable.
The Ministry has requested for Border controls to be stepped up. Farmers and traders on the border have been requested to increase efforts to combat smuggling.
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