Ag Groups Look to Limit Trade Barriers

The American Sheep Industry Association joined 18 farm and agricultural groups in signing on to a recent letter calling for the United States to combat animal health related trade barriers that might restrict American agricultural exports.

"The United States has an established science-based risk assessment approach for protecting animal health and welfare and public health through the prevention, treatment, and control of disease. We urge you to continue placing a high priority on combating trade barriers not based on science that inhibit access to modern medicines and technologies for U.S. veterinarians, farmers, and ranchers. These trade barriers hurt U.S. exports, risk animal and crop health, and limit the availability of safe and effective tools needed to provide the world with an abundant supply of food," read the letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

"The European Union recently passed into law the concept of 'reciprocity' to unjustifiably restrict the use of antimicrobials in food animal production exported to the EU, and is in the process of crafting regulations to bring the new law into effect. Unless modified through this implementation stage, this provision will effectively impose EU hazard-based antibiotic use measures on meat, milk, egg and fish producers in countries that export to the EU, including the United States.

"The impact will be severe, as veterinarians in countries wanting to export to the EU will lose their capacity to determine the best options available to prevent, control and treat animal disease, including options vetted by the science-based risk assessment process for global food safety standards established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. This may result in negative consequences for food safety, public health, and animal health and welfare."