The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing final criteria the agency will use to evaluate and recognize livestock compartments in other countries. Compartmentalization is an important tool animal health officials can use to protect against disease spread and support continued trade during a disease outbreak.
The livestock or poultry within a compartment are managed using consistent, strict biosecurity and health practices, and are kept separate from other populations of animals. This reassures trading partners that there is a minimal risk of those compartmentalized animals spreading disease. When disease strikes, unaffected compartments are still eligible for international trade. More importantly, recognizing compartments in other countries makes it more likely that APHIS will be successful as it works with other countries to recognize our compartments during an outbreak. This will help our farmers and ranchers by maintaining export markets, which reduces the overall impact of the outbreak to our agriculture industry.
APHIS’ evaluation criteria for compartmentalization are similar to what the agency already uses for regionalization requests, with slight changes to account for the differences between regions and compartments. The criteria are:
Using this information, along with site visits from APHIS animal health experts, APHIS will determine whether the animals within the compartment are managed in a way that keeps them distinct and separate from other animal populations within the country.
APHIS received seven comments during the 60-day public comment period on the proposed rule all of which supported this rule. As a result, APHIS made no changes to the proposed rule.
This rule becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.