US – The cattle industry has attacked the US government for adding a region of Argentina to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) free list.
A producer organisation has said that the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) renewal of Patagonia's status threatens US cattle health.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) spearheaded criticism by expressing ‘extreme concern’ for US cattle herd wellbeing on Friday.
This followed APHIS's decision to move Patagonia, consisting of Patagonia South and North B, to a list of regions considered to be free of FDM and Rinderpest.
NCBA President Bob McCan accused APHIS of ‘charging blindly forward’ in dealing with an economically devastating disease in such a manner.
“We strongly believe that these recent actions by APHIS present a significant risk to the health and well-being of the nation’s cattle herd through the possible introduction of FMD virus,” said Mr McCan.
“Our extreme concern is only further magnified by the associated proposed rule to allow chilled or frozen beef to be imported from the region of Northern Argentina.
“Northern Argentina is a region that is not recognized as being free of Foot-and-Mouth Disease by APHIS.”
Mr McCan questioned the integrity of the APHIS risk analysis and said it had ignored a third-party review finding flaws in its risk analysis.
“It is evident that APHIS has charged blindly forward in making this announcement, ignoring the findings of a third-party scientific review identifying major weaknesses in the methodology of the risk analysis that formed the foundation for the APHIS decision-making process.
“The third-party scientific review uncovered deficiencies in the APHIS hazard analysis and the exposure assessment, as well as an overly subjective qualitative format for the risk analysis.”
He criticised APHIS for ignoring NCBA requests for written reports, stating that site reviews not requiring written reports calls the integrity and quality assurance of the risk analysis into question.
He said that open trade markets and science-based standards to facilitate international trade were support by the NCBA but that no amount of trade was worth sacrificing cattle health and safety for.
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