Network of Collaboration Sniffs Out Foreign Animal Diseases at the Border

Keeping herds safe from foreign animal diseases is top of mind across the livestock industry and prevention starts at the U.S. border. There’s now a network of government agencies at airports and ocean ports searching for animal products.

The network includes Customs and Border Protection agents, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and their Smuggling Interdiction and Trade Compliance program.

“The last quarter of 2021 SCHIC seized almost a ton of illegal meat products for sale in New York City. In 2021 as well, Customs and Border Protection, CBP, found grandmother from the Dominican Republic coming into the country and she had 11 big sausages.”

Swine Health Information Center’s Executive Director, Paul Sunberg, says the organizations are in constant communication with U.S. networks.

“That comes also with some perspective, the whole issue of national biosecurity is not just those organizations on our border, protecting us from all of the things that may come into the country and make our pig sick African swine fever being one of them, it’s really got to be a state federal industry cooperation.”

Containers can slip through inspections and the risk is increased if the product reaches feral or domestic herds of swine. Sunberg says producers have a job to do.

“It’s common sense with African swine fever around the world, there are some products that have gotten in. But we’ve done a really good job of keeping away from pigs, and that’s the producer responsibility.”

Sundberg says everyone has to work together or won’t be successful.

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