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Statement of the American Meat Institute on USDA's Temporary Ban on European Union Meat and Livestock

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

(Attribute Statement to AMI President J. Patrick Boyle)

The meat industry supports USDA’s temporary ban on imports of meat and livestock from the European Union (EU). The ban is a prudent measure designed to protect U.S. herds from a highly contagious livestock disease. Foot and mouth disease is one of the most contagious animal diseases. The U.S. eradicated the disease in 1929 and we must take every step possible to ensure that our herds never develop it again.

Meat exports are one of our country's greatest trade successes and we work hard to ensure continued export growth. U.S. meat exports have grown dramatically over the past decade: beef exports have more than doubled and pork exports have multiplied five-fold since 1990. We export approximately 10 percent of our beef and nearly seven percent of our pork.

Were an outbreak of foot and mouth disease to occur in the U.S., $3.6 billion in annual beef exports and $1.3 billion in annual pork exports could be jeopardized. The cost of lost export markets, together with the potential cost of isolating and eradicating the disease, could have a devastating impact on livestock producers, the meat industry and the U.S. economy.

For these reasons, we support USDA’s efforts to protect our herds and preserve our ability to export meats.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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