GOP senators urge Biden to withdraw sheep rule

Summary of APHIS-2009-0095-0001 "We are proposing to amend the regulations that govern the importation of animals and animal products to revise the conditions for the importation of live sheep, goats, and certain other non-bovine ruminants, and products derived from sheep and goats, with regard to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and scrapie. We are proposing to remove BSE-related import restrictions on sheep and goats and most of their products, and to add import restrictions related to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies for certain wild, zoological, or other non-bovine ruminant species. The conditions we are proposing for the importation of specified commodities are based on internationally accepted scientific literature and will in general align our regulations with guidelines set out in the World Organization for Animal Health's Terrestrial Animal Health Code."

A group of Republican senators led by Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., have sent a letter to Biden administration officials asking that the Agriculture Department withdraw a final rule on the importation of sheep, goats, and certain other ruminants until its impact on current market conditions has been fully evaluated.

“The federal government has invested over $200 million into scrapie eradication since the early 2000s. This investment has yielded tremendous results, lowering the percentage of scrapie-positive cull sheep at slaughter by 99% since fiscal year 2003,” the senators wrote. “By allowing scrapie-positive animals and genetic materials into the United States, we risk reintroducing the very disease we have nearly eradicated. If the disease is reintroduced into domestic flocks, opportunities for export will rapidly decline.”

Joining Cramer on his letter were Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member John Barrasso of Wyoming and Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Steve Daines of Montana, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, John Thune of South Dakota, John Hoeven of North Dakota and Michael Rounds of South Dakota.

–The Hagstrom Report

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