March 23, 2018

U.S., Canada Sign Agreement on Animal Disease Zoning

Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced yesterday that Canada and the United States are recognizing each other’s zoning measures during highly contagious foreign animal disease outbreaks. That means that each country will “accept the other’s decisions on establishing, maintaining, and releasing a disease control and eradication zone if an outbreak of a foreign animal disease, such as foot-and-mouth diseases or classical swine fever, occurs.”

In a statement, Ritz said, “cross-border trade in live animals, meat and other animal products and by-products contributes billions of dollars each year to Canada’s economy. This arrangement will keep U.S. market opportunities open for Canadian producers should a foreign animal disease outbreak occur, all while protecting human and animal health.” The agreement is part of a commitment made in the Joint Action Plan of the Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council.

This agreement means that if Canada establishes a disease control and eradication zone anywhere in the country, the USDA would still allow imports of animal products, by-products, and live animals from areas of Canada that are considered disease-free, and vice versa. If this agreement had been in effect when a Mad Cow outbreak occurred in Canada in 2003, exports of cattle and meat products to the U.S. could have continued.

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