NFU Comments on Proposed FMD Status in Brazil

15 06 2010

WASHINGTON (June 15, 2010) – National Farmers Union (NFU) recently submitted comments to U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on the changes in disease status of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina with regard to certain swine and ruminant diseases.

NFU submitted comments pertaining to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), citing the potential consequences the change in status could have on the livelihood of U.S. family farmers and ranchers and the importance of protecting the health of domestic livestock and wildlife populations.

“NFU has long standing policy that supports banning livestock, animal protein products and meat imports that would jeopardize U.S. efforts to prevent or eradicate livestock diseases,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The economic devastation FMD would cause to the U.S. agricultural industry would be incomparable to any animal disease ever experienced in the United States.”

According to the APHIS risk assessment, the State of Catarina, Brazil, has met the 11 qualifications to send any product to the United States. The findings in the APHIS assessment are vastly differently from the economic impact attached to the risk assessment that accompanies the rule. According to the APHIS assessment, “The proposed rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact,” meanwhile APHIS testified in a 2009 House Agriculture Committee hearing that simulated FMD outbreaks projected losses between $2.8 and $14 billion.

Conflicting reports are also present in determining the last reported case of FMD in Brazil, with the APHIS assessment showing confirmation in 2005, where the World Organization for Animal Health cites the last case occurred in 2006.

“APHIS should not allow animals with even a slight risk of communicable disease infection to be imported by the United States, especially for a disease that could easily spread across the entire country in a matter of days,” said Johnson. “NFU urges the rejection of this assessment, retaining current restrictions on imported livestock from Brazil until more scientific evidence can be presented.”

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