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Agencies Doing "Admirable Job" of Keeping Animal Diseases at Bay, AMIF President Says

Friday, September 28, 2001

Producer groups, consumer interests and other groups today called for increased vigilance in the prevention of foreign animal diseases during a public hearing held to solicit information in response to the Animal Disease Risk Assessment, Prevention and Control Act of 2001, passed by Congress earlier this year.
The comments were heard to satisfy the legislation’s request for a report discussing the economic impacts of, potential risks posed by and recommendations to protect the U.S. from foreign animal diseases such as foot and mouth disease (FMD) and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).
AMI Foundation President James Hodges testified at the hearing, complimenting the various agencies for doing an "admirable job in preventing the introduction of foreign animal diseases" into the U.S.
“Our desire is to take all reasonable precautions to prevent FMD and BSE in this country. These diseases could have a devastating effect on our domestic economy and export markets,” Hodges said.
However, Hodges stressed a need for increased cooperation between APHIS and FSIS in disease surveillance and sample collection. FSIS officials are a continuous presence in the meat packing and slaughter facilities and can offer a crucial first line of detection for these animal diseases, Hodges said.
The meat and poultry industry must be highly involved in decisions regarding prevention of and contingency plans for foreign animal diseases, Hodges said.

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