AHC Supports USDA Proposal for Quarantine Facilities

(Edited press release)

The American Horse Council submitted comments supporting the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rules that would permit the establishment and operation of permanent, privately-owned quarantine facilities.

The AHC has been calling for the USDA to re-publish the rule proposal that was originally proposed more than four years ago to respond to the need for more import facilities through privately-operated stations.

“There are presently three facilities through which horses may be brought into the U.S. permanently,” noted Kerry Thompson, the AHC’s director of health and regulatory affairs, when the proposed rules were re-published. “The need for additional quarantine space has increased dramatically and more facilities are needed to handle the additional commerce. Once rules are adopted, the private industry can step in under USDA requirements and fill that gap.”

In its comments, the AHC expressed its support of the establishment of permanent, privately-owned quarantine facilities and emphasized the need for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service personnel to be present at privately-owned facilities and that the establishment of permanent facilities has no affect on the temporary, privately-owned quarantine facilities.

While supporting the establishment of permanent, privately-owned quarantine facilities, the AHC expressed concerns to the USDA concerning the guidelines on deciding the distance of a facility to a port of entry and the lack of requirements for a facility to be at least one-half mile from any premises holding livestock or horses.

A complete copy of the AHC’s comments to the USDA is available in the health and regulations section of the AHC Web site at www.horsecouncil.org.