USDA Increases Veterinary Presence at U.S. Ports of Entry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the hiring of 18 veterinarians to protect American agriculture against the entry of prohibited agricultural products that may contain foreign animal diseases like foot and mouth disease and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. 

"The addition of these veterinarians to USDA's comprehensive agricultural quarantine inspection program is part of Secretary Ann M. Veneman's continuing effort to bolster the United States' agriculture infrastructure," said Bill Hawks, under secretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs.  "We are always looking at ways to continue to improve our strong safeguarding programs."

These veterinarians, working for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's plant protection and quarantine program, join approximately 5,000 APHIS personnel already on alert at our nation’s borders, ports of entry and on farms ensuring the appropriate prevention and preparedness programs are in place to protect U.S. agriculture.

The new veterinarians will provide guidance and training on working with and handling animal products, animal by-products and international garbage; work cooperatively with USDA's plant protection and quarantine officers when dealing with issues involving foreign animal diseases; act as a liaison between APHIS' plant protection and quarantine and veterinary services
programs; conduct port reviews; and continue to work closely with state agricultural officials, thereby improving the federal-state partnerships critical to protecting American agriculture.  The new veterinarians will be stationed in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Puerto Rico, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington, and Hawaii.

USDA protects farmers, ranchers and the entire U.S. agricultural industry from the risks associated with the entry, establishment or spread of animal and plant pests or diseases.  By effectively fulfilling its safeguarding role, USDA ensures an abundant, high-quality and varied food supply, strengthens the marketability of U.S. agriculture in domestic and international commerce and contributes to the preservation of the global environment.

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