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Jim Rogers (202) 690-4755
Jerry Redding (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Dec 12, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is proposing to amend its regulations regarding the importation of horses in order to establish standards for the approval of permanent, privately owned quarantine facilities.

The need for quarantine facilities for imported horses has increased in recent years as the amount of trade between the United States and other countries has risen. This action is being proposed because, in some cases, the demand for quarantine services for horses has exceeded the space available at existing federal facilities. In addition, the geographic distribution of the currently operating horse quarantine facilities can make it difficult or costly to import horses to some areas.

Under the proposal, permanent, private facilities would have to be approved by APHIS and maintain the same level of biological security standards as other permanent quarantine facilities operated by APHIS. In addition, at least one APHIS representative would be required to be onsite to oversee the care of all horses in quarantine during normal working hours.

Privately owned horse quarantine facilities, constructed and operated using the proper safeguards, would provide an effective and efficient means of bringing horses into the United States without compromising APHIS' ability to protect against the introduction of communicable equine diseases.

This proposed rule replaces a previously published proposal (which will be withdrawn) that would have allowed the establishment of permanent, privately owned horse quarantine facilities but under different requirements. The current proposal contains many of the provisions of the previous proposed rule, but incorporates several new requirements and incorporates numerous suggestions made by those who provided feedback.

This proposed rule is scheduled for publication in the Dec. 13 Federal Register.

Consideration will be given to comments received on or before Feb. 12, 2007. Send an original and three copies of postal mail or commercial delivery comments to Docket No. APHIS-2006-0013, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, Md. 20737-1238. If you wish to submit a comment using the Internet, go to the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov, select “Animal and

Plant Health Inspection Service” from the agency drop-down menu; then click on “Submit.” In the Docket ID column, select APHIS-2006-0013 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

Comments are posted on the Regulations.gov Web site and may also be reviewed at USDA, Room 1141, South Building, 14th St. and Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C., 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.


Note to Reporters: USDA news releases, program announcements and media advisories are available on the Internet. Go to the APHIS news release page at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/newsroom. Also, anyone with an e-mail address can sign up to receive APHIS press releases automatically. Send an e-mail message to lyris@mdrdlyriss10.aphis.usda.gov and leave the subject blank. In the message, type subscribe press_releases.

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