USDA Streamlines Guidance on Live Animal Imports

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing changes to regulations governing requests to conduct animal health status evaluations. These evaluations are conducted at the request of foreign nations in order to determine eligibility for importing animals and animal products into the United States.

The proposed changes will clarify the information requested from the foreign nations to allow for a more expeditious evaluation process. These actions support government initiatives to make regulations clearer and easier to understand.

Under the current process, nations who request evaluation must also submit information that supports their request. There are 11 factors to respond to, some of which overlap. The actual evaluation process is delayed when the information provided is incomplete or unclear.

The USDA is proposing to reorganize the breakdown of information into eight factors to eliminate the overlap and make the request easier to understand and respond to accurately. The type of information needed will not change substantively from what is currently required.

The USDA is also proposing to create separate criteria to establish that an area is historically free of a specific animal disease. These criteria follow the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) recommendations. Countries would support their request with information about six factors if they are seeking to be evaluated as historically free of the specific disease. In addition to the proposed regulation changes, USDA will provide more detailed assistance for completing the evaluation request process through a guidance document available on the APHIS website. This new guidance, which will highlight the specific information needed under each factor, will assist foreign governments with providing the necessary data for an expeditious review.

This notice is published in the Dec. 28, 2011, Federal Register. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 27, 2012. Comments can be submitted by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Docket No. APHIS-2007-0158, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may be viewed online or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. To facilitate entry into the comment reading room, please call 202/690-2817.

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