ASI Submits BSE CommentsIn comments filed with the Federal Register docket Importation of Sheep, Goats and Certain Other Ruminants, ASI President Burton Pfliger said, “ASI is generally supportive of the proposed rule and we believe that overall, the proposed changes are scientifically sound and appropriate.”
The rulemaking would amend the bovine spongiform encephalopathy and scrapie regulations regarding the importation of live sheep, goats and wild ruminants and their embryos, semen, products and by-products.
The proposed scrapie revisions regarding the importation of sheep, goats and susceptible wild ruminants for other than immediate slaughter are similar to those recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health in restricting the importation of these animals to those from scrapie-free regions or certified scrapie-free flocks.
ASI commended USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for proposing to revise the conditions for the importation of sheep and goats including their products. With trade, especially in germplasm and meat, being severely restricted since 2003, ASI is hopeful that when a final rule is published, market access for U.S. producers and industries will be enhanced.
ASI does urge APHIS to consider carefully the scientific merits of:
• feeding sheep and goat milk and milk products to sheep and goats;
• the importation of sheep and goat blood and blood products from BSE-infected countries for sheep and goat feeding;
• recognizing the low scrapie-risk of sheep semen from genetically resistant rams;
• the unknown BSE risk of importing live goats;
• additional requirements for “designated feedlots” receiving imported feeder animals; and
• the BSE risk of importing non-bovine, non-sheep, non-goat animals into the wild without the process of conducting a risk assessment then publishing proposals for
public notice and comment.
ASI’s comments can be viewed on its web page at Sheepusa.org/IssuesPrograms_AsiPositions by clicking on the Importation of Sheep, Goats and Certain Other Ruminants tab.
The proposed rule is available at www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-07-18/pdf/2016-16816.pdf. The official comment period closed on Sept. 16.