Animal Health Briefs

News Article -

~~Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Detection in Canada~~On January 23, Canada announced that a nearly-6-year-old cow in Alberta, Canada, tested positive for BSE. Canada is currently conducting an epidemiological investigation to identify, among other things, the source of this animal's feed and other animals that may have been exposed to that feed; USDA is prepared to assist Canada with its investigation if requested. USDA remains confident in the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place to prevent BSE, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and additional safeguards outlined in the final rule recognizing Canada as a Minimal-Risk Region for BSE. In the case of this animal, information from Canada indicates that no meat or other product from this animal entered the human food or animal feed chains.

~~Taiwan Reopens Market to U.S. Beef~~On January 25, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that Taiwan will resume trade in U.S. boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age. Taiwan's announcement closely follows the recent reopening of several other major Asian markets to U.S. beef in Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. In 2003, the United States exported more than $76 million worth of beef to Taiwan, with boneless beef products accounting for $56 million. Taiwan's market is now open to more than 90 percent of total U.S. ruminant and ruminant products whose value reached $325 million in 2003.

~~Philippines Reopen the Market for U.S. Beef~~On December 22, 2005, the Philippine Department of Agriculture formally agreed to allow U.S. live breeder cattle imports into the country subject to the terms and conditions specified in the Philippine Import Health Protocol for Live Cattle from the United States. The decision to allow live cattle imports follows Japan's and Hong Kong's recent decisions to allow exports of certain U.S. beef products to resume. USDA continues to focus its efforts on opening additional markets in Asia and around the world by promoting the use of science-based regulations in global beef trade.

~~Hong Kong Reopens Market for U.S. Beef Exports~~On December 29, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that Hong Kong and the United States had reached an agreement to allow the United States to export boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age to Hong Kong under the beef export verification program. USDA anticipates that trade with Hong Kong will begin quickly, and will continue to focus our efforts on opening additional markets in Asia and around the world by promoting the use of science-based regulations for the global beef trade.

~~Initial Protocol Developed for Import of U.S. Beef~~On January 13, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman jointly commended the progress made with the government of Korea to develop an initial import protocol for U.S. beef, an important step in reopening Korea's market. The initial agreement will allow the U.S. to export boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age under a Beef Export Verification Program. The U.S. trade representative stated that the United States will continue to urge Korea in the strongest terms to open its market without delay to U.S. bone-in beef, variety meats, and offal. Together, these products historically accounted for approximately 50 percent of U.S. beef exports to Korea. Korea has prohibited imports of U.S. beef and beef products since December 2003, following the detection of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a single cow of Canadian origin in Washington State.

~~Avian Influenza Team Travels to Turkey ~~On January 10, the United States sent a team of influenza experts to Turkey to assess the avian flu situation there, see what lessons have been learned, and make recommendations on what the United States can do to support efforts in Turkey to deal with and prepare for avian flu. The team consists of experts in animal and human health surveillance, laboratory capacity, and public health communications from the USDA, Agency for International Development, Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of State. Several Animal Plant Health Inspection Service officials are included in this team. The team has been meeting with Turkish government officials and with representatives of international organizations, such as the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, already working locally on avian influenza. The team has also been traveling to surrounding areas affected or threatened by the flu to see first hand efforts already underway. The team will be returning to the United States soon and officials across the Federal Government will be analyzing their observations as part of ongoing efforts to deliver the best possible technical assistance to countries affected by the Asian H5N1 virus.

~~International Pledging Conference for Avian Influenza ~~The international community attending the International Ministerial Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza in Beijing, China, on January 17 and 18 pledged a total of $1.9 billion according to the European Union's (EU) Health and Consumer Protection Commission. The funding will help affected countries fight outbreaks of the Asian H5N1 avian influenza virus and also assist neighboring countries in efforts to prepare for any related human health issues. The European Commission cosponsored the conference with the government of the People's Republic of China and the World Bank. Attending the conference on behalf of USDA was APHIS Administrator Ron DeHaven. During the conference, the White House announced that the United States will provide substantial funding included in the pandemic influenza supplemental bill--$334 million--to support the global campaign against avian influenza. This represents the largest single national contribution thus far to these global efforts. Resources will be used, among other things, to assist countries with national preparedness plans, improve surveillance and response systems, and to provide assistance in establishing wild bird surveillance programs.

~~Singapore Reopens Market to U.S. Beef~~On January 19, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that Singapore had reached an agreement with the United States to resume importation of U.S. boneless beef products from animals under 30 months of age. In 2003, the United States exported $5.9 million of beef and beef products to Singapore, with boneless beef exports accounting for nearly $4 million.

~~Animal Care Horse Protection Program to Hold Public Meeting ~~On February 8, APHIS' Animal Care program will host a public meeting in Shelbyville, Tennessee, to present current information on the enforcement of the Horse Protection Act (HPA) and provide a forum for horse industry members and other interested persons to comment on the Horse Protection Program, development of the HPA Operating Plan for 2007 and beyond, and other horse protection matters. This notice was published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2006. (Contact: Bob Ehart)

Contact Information

Bob Ehart