Billings, Mont.R-CALF USA Today called the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) proposed rule to lift foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) restrictions on Brazil inaccurate and unscientific. An early version of USDA's proposed rule (officially scheduled for publication in the April 16, 2010 Federal Register) falsely claims the last outbreak of FMD in the Brazilian state of Parana (which borders Santa Catarina, the state USDA wants to declare free of FMD) was in 2005.
"This is false," said R-CALFUSA CEO Bill Bullard, who cited disease information from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) that shows Parana, Brazil, continued to have new outbreaks of FMD into 2006, just four years ago. "OIE data clearly show that Parana, Brazil, had six new outbreaks and 20 cases of FMD in 2006."
In addition, Bullard said the proposed rule also fails to mention the 669 cases of FMD that resulted in Brazil's destruction of over 26,000 head of cattle within the past five years in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which borders Parana and is in close proximity to Santa Catarina.
"It is disheartening that USDA has purposely and officially failed to disclose the severity of Brazil's FMD situation, which is publicly available on OIE's Web site, in order to advance its own agenda to import high-risk products into the United States," he said.
Bullard also said USDA has a 100 percent failure rate in its attempts to "regionalize," or carve out regions, within FMD-affected countries that export meat to the U.S., as it is attempting to do with Santa Catarina, Brazil.