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Foreign animal disease prevention funds urged

A former administrator of the USDA’s Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service says foreign animal disease threats are increasing as agency funding has been decreasing over the past several years. Bobby Acord testified before a House Homeland Security subcommittee last week and tells Brownfield Ag News that lawmakers can’t have it both ways, “We can’t be cutting money –while the threats – or, cutting funds while the threats are increasing and allow these deficiencies to continue. It can’t — we’ll live to regret it.”

Acord says the U.S. must have a more robust screening of imports before Ports of Entry, which he calls ‘the second line of defense.’

He points out that the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, which was discovered in April 2013 in the U.S., quickly spread all over the country, saying, “We’ve never really come to a concrete determination as to how that disease was introduced. Nor did we have a source of introduction for Delta coronavirus which was introduced soon after PED.”

Acord, who testified as a consultant for the National Pork Producers Council, says the difficulty in getting funding to prevent animal disease outbreaks is very frustrating.

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