Groups applaud Congressional action on animal health

Bipartisan bill would amend Animal Health Protection Act.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

May 19, 2023

2 Min Read
Line of black Angus cattle looking at the camera with blank blue sky
Getty/iStockphoto/Jackie Nix

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and National Pork Producers Council announced their support for legislation introduced in the House and Senate to amend the Animal Health Protection Act. The Foreign Animal Disease Prevention Surveillance and Rapid Response Act of 2023 would provide additional funding for three farm bill programs established in 2018. They include the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank, the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

“The threat of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the United States represents an existential threat to every cattle producer. It would also threaten this nation’s food and national security. We must act now to ensure we are prepared to combat a potential crisis before it happens,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “As a cattle producer, it is reassuring to see bipartisan support for legislation like the Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act, which will help our industry prepare for, and ultimately prevent a national crisis.”

The vaccine bank is responsible for foot-and-mouth disease vaccines and diagnostic test kits. The NADPRP oversees programs like the Secure Beef Supply plan. It provides businesses with resources to help producers safely operate in the event of foreign disease outbreaks. The NAHLN conducts disease research and testing. According to NCBA Cattle Health and Well Being Committee Chair Tom Portillo, each one is vital to keeping animals and the food supply safe.

“Together, the vaccine bank, NADPRP, and the laboratory network form a ‘three-legged stool’ that represents our strategy for protecting the cattle and beef industry from a foreign animal disease outbreak,” Portillo says. “To protect the cattle industry, Congress must provide adequate funding for each of these three important programs.”

The Senate version of the bill was introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Joni Ernst, R- Iowa. In the House it was introduced by Reps. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Angie Craig, D-Minn., Jim Costa, D-Calif, Don Bacon, R-Neb., and Don Davis, D-N.C.

“We appreciate Senators John Cornyn, Amy Klobuchar and Joni Ernst and Representatives Ronny Jackson, Don Bacon, Jim Costa, Angie Craig and Don Davis for introducing this critical legislation to protect animal health,” said NPPC President and Missouri pork producer Scott Hays. “With threats of African swine fever and other foreign animal diseases to livestock and poultry industries, having these provisions in the farm bill will ensure the U.S. remains positioned to deliver safe and affordable food to consumers worldwide.”

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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