TSCRA President Pete Bonds, Saginaw, released a statement Monday, Dec. 22, after TSCRA submitted comments in opposition to a recent rule proposal by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) that would allow the importation of live cattle and fresh or frozen beef from northern Argentina, putting the U.S. cattle herd at a greater risk of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
“TSCRA is extremely concerned with the APHIS rule proposal to allow the importation of live cattle and fresh or frozen beef from northern Argentina,” said Bonds. “Protecting the U.S. cattle industry from a catastrophic foreign animal disease, such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a major priority for TSCRA.
“FMD could cause a widespread quarantine and possible massive depopulation of the cattle herd in the U.S., thus compromising national security, jeopardizing our beef supply and costing our industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
“While TSCRA supports free trade with foreign countries that have a proven history of controlling animal diseases, we do not believe Argentina can consistently guarantee the standards necessary to keep FMD out of America.
“Many beef producers in Texas and the Southwest remember, have heard recounts of, and have seen pictures from the devastating effects of FMD the last time it was in the United States. There will never be a good time for the U.S. cattle industry to take a risk this large; however, now is especially not a good time given the extreme level of uncertainty surrounding Argentina’s ability to control FMD, the ability for FMD to spread rapidly throughout the U.S. through a growing feral swine population, and the fact that the national cattle herd is at its lowest since the 1950s.
“TSCRA requests that APHIS withdraw this proposal and take all reasonable and appropriate measures to protect the U.S. cattle industry from the introduction of FMD and other foreign animal diseases.”
TSCRA urges cattle producers to submit comments expressing concern with this rule by visiting www.regulations.gov and typing into the search screen, APHIS-2014-0032-0131. The deadline for submitting comments is Dec. 29, 2014.
To read the comments that TSCRA submitted regarding this rule proposal, click here to download a pdf.