The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing criteria that will be used to evaluate and recognize livestock compartments in other countries. Compartmentalization is an important tool animal health officials can use to protect against disease spread and support continued trade during a disease outbreak.
The livestock or poultry within a compartment are managed using consistent, strict biosecurity and health practices, and are kept separate from other populations of animals. This reassures trading partners that there is a minimal risk of those compartmentalized animals spreading disease. When disease strikes, unaffected compartments are still eligible for international trade. More importantly, recognizing compartments in other countries makes it more likely other countries will recognize our compartments during an outbreak. This will help our farmers and ranchers by maintaining export markets, which reduces the overall impact of the outbreak to our agriculture industry.
APHIS is proposing evaluation criteria for compartmentalization that are similar to what the agency already uses for regionalization requests, with slight changes to account for the differences between regions and compartments. The criteria are:
- Scope of evaluation requested;
- Veterinary control and oversight of the compartment;
- Disease history and vaccination practices;
- Livestock or poultry commodity movement and traceability;
- Epidemiologic separation of the compartment from potential sources of infection;
- Disease surveillance;
- Diagnostic laboratory capabilities; and
- Emergency preparedness and response capabilities
This information, along with site visits from APHIS animal health experts, will allow APHIS to determine whether the animals within the compartment are managed in a way that keeps them distinct and separate from other animal populations within the country.
The proposed rule also includes language for stopping and then restarting trade from a region or compartment as needed during an outbreak. APHIS is proposing to codify a process where notifications for very small, easily-controlled disease situations are made through a web-based list. This allows a more timely response in restarting trade when a minor situation is resolved. APHIS will continue to use its existing process, involving Federal Register notices, for large, complex or unknown-severity disease situations.
This notice may be viewed in today’s Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-06473.Beginning tomorrow, members of the public will be able to submit comments at: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-06473.