Senators Smith, Grassley Reintroduce Legislation to Prevent Spread of Foreign Animal Diseases


US Senators Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reintroduced legislation to combat the spread of foreign animal diseases entering the United States. the Health Dogs Import Act It will expand the USDA-APHIS program by providing additional tools to monitor and protect the health of dogs imported into the country.

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“Human and animal health are closely linked, and we know that taking proactive steps can help prevent health emergencies.” Smith said. “for this reason Health Dogs Import Act very important. Reducing the spread of exotic diseases in dogs helps keep domestic and wild animals healthy. It can also help prevent diseases and disease outbreaks among people. I will continue to work to move this bipartisan bill forward.”

“Maintaining animal health is critical to our nation’s overall public health goals. It is important that we work to stop the spread of diseases that can harm both animals and humans,” Grassley said. “This rationale proposal would take advantage of the existing program to ensure that all dogs entering the country are healthy and not at risk of spreading serious diseases.”

In addition to expanding the USDA-APHIS program, the Health Dogs Import Act Each imported dog will be required to obtain a veterinary examination certificate from a licensed veterinarian. The health certificate must prove that the dog has received all required vaccinations and has shown negative test results. This legislation would also create an online database of import documentation and permits to ensure that dogs entering the United States are properly screened. This will also allow for more collaboration and communication between the Central American Health Authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and US Customs and Border Protection.

Center for Disease Control estimates As many as 1.245 million dogs are imported into the United States each year. For the estimated 113,000 importers from countries at risk of rabies transmission, the CDC requires a certificate of rabies vaccination, but no other health documentation or identification. For the 950,000 dogs imported from rabies-free, low-risk, or intermediate-risk countries, the CDC requires no documentation or vaccination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased public health officials’ concern about zoonotic diseases, which can spread between animals and humans. Center for Disease Control reports 60% of all infectious diseases and 3 out of 4 emerging diseases such as coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to humans. The USDA-APHIS has separate regulatory authority over dogs imported for resale. However, the USDA’s import requirements apply to only half a percent of all imported dogs.

Along with Grassley and Smith, the Health Dogs Import Act It is also co-sponsored by Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Raphael Warnock (R-Ga.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) and Kirsten Gillibrand (R-NY).

Legislative text is available here.

“Strengthening our animal health infrastructure by improving the country’s dog import standards is essential to maintaining public health. There are more than 1 million dogs imported into the United States each year and we must make sure they are healthy and not at risk of spreading serious diseases. Sens. Tina Smith and Chuck Grassley recognize the protections this bipartisan legislation will provide our country.As new Congress begins, the AVMA will continue to educate lawmakers about the importance of Health Dogs Import Act and working to pass the bill into law,” said Dr. Laurie Teller, president of the AVMA.

“NASDA is grateful to Senator Grassley and Smith’s leadership for timely reintroduction of this legislation. The pandemic, the current outbreak of avian influenza, and the ever-present threat of deadly African swine fever demonstrate the need to better protect the United States from infectious pathogens and zoonotic diseases. This legislation Important to NASDA members, state agriculture departments regulate and oversee animal health programs in their states to protect against animal disease outbreaks and secure our food supply. Health Dogs Import Act Our partners in the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services help by providing additional tools to monitor and protect the health of dogs that are imported into the country,” said Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Ministries of Agriculture.

NAIA commends Sens. Grassley and Smith for taking action to reduce the spread of zoonoses and pathogens. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded a ban on dogs imported from high-risk rabies-endemic countries. The temporary suspension was imposed in June 2021 due to a high number of incidents of rabid dogs entering the country, many with false rabies vaccination certificates.NAIA strongly supports CDC’s efforts to protect the public from reintroduction of rabies; however, we remain concerned about the remaining 90% of imports of dogs that do not remain unchecked.For years, public health agencies have documented cases in which imported dogs brought other threats to animal and public health, including new strains of canine influenza, leptospirosis, and screwworm.The bipartisan Import Healthy Dogs Act would set reasonable health and vaccination requirements for all dogs imported into the US and helps eliminate the need for a universal suspension.” said Patty Strand, president of the National Alliance for Animal Welfare.

The American Kennel Club commends Senators Grassley and Smith for their continued leadership and support of the Healthy Dog Import Act. This commonsense legislation will protect the public and animal health of the United States and avert a preventable tragedy in the future. No responsible person wants to bring an unhealthy, infectious dog into the country. By requiring dog imports to have a valid and verifiable health certificate, the Healthy Dog Import Act brings US standards in line with most other countries and demonstrates the US commitment to responsible care and healthy environments for dogs — and those who love them.” He said Sheila Joffe, Vice President of Government Relations for the American Kennel Club.

Full list of organizations supporting Health Dogs Import Act It can be found here.

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