Read the original article by Patti Strand at naiaonline.org here.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a key report finding that over 1 million dogs are imported into the U.S. each year. And, of those one million, less than one percent are subject to thorough health screenings that ensure they are healthy and free of disease before entering the country.
The 2018 Farm Bill provision, which was strongly supported by the National Animal Interest Alliance, directed USDA to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to estimate the number of dogs entering into the U.S. each year. All three agencies share some jurisdiction over canine imports; however, the data released today demonstrates little to no oversight exists for 99% of these imports.
With the increase of unscreened dog imports, the U.S. has seen diseases from rabies, to canine influenza, to leptospirosis brought into the country. The publication of this report represents a critical first step in the process to update the current statutory and regulatory framework for dog imports to ensure animal and public health is protected.
NAIA applauds Secretary Sonny Perdue, Under Secretary Greg Ibach, Administrator Kevin Shea, and others at the Department of Agriculture for releasing this critical data to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. And we are grateful to Representatives David Rouzer of North Carolina, Jim Costa of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, Ted Yoho of Florida, Ralph Abraham of Louisiana and Senators David Perdue of Georgia and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania for their efforts on this important issue.
We look forward to working with Congress and the Department of Agriculture to advance federal policies that enhance our import laws and regulations in order to adequately protect our country from foreign disease introduction.