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United States. In performing the operations or measures herein authorized, the several governments of Central America shall be responsible for the authority necessary to carry out such operations or measures on all lands and properties in each nation and for such other facilities and means as in the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture are necessary. The measure and character of cooperation carried out under this Act on the part of the United States and on the part of the several governments of Central America, including the expenditure or use of funds appropriated pursuant to this Act, shall be such as may be prescribed by the Secretary of Agriculture. Arrangements for the cooperation authorized by this Act shall be made through and in consultation with the Secretary of State. The authority contained in this Act is in addition to and not in substitution for the authority of existing law.
SEC. 2. For purposes of this Act, funds appropriated pursuant thereto may also be used for the purchase or hire of passenger motor vehicles and aircraft, for printing and binding without regard to section 87 of the Act of January 12, 1895, or section 11 of the Act of March 1, 1919 (44 U.S.C. 111), and for the employment of civilian nationals of the several nations of Central America.
SEC. 3. The governments of Central America, for the purposes of this Act, mean the governments for those countries located between the Republic of Columbia and the Republic of Mexico.
SEC. 4. In carrying out this Act the Secretary of Agriculture is further authorized to cooperate with other public and private organizations and individuals.
SEC. 5. There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this Act.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Washington, D.C., March 28, 1968. Hon. John W. McCORMACK, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
DEAR MR. SPEAKER: There is transmitted herewith for the consideration of the Congress, a draft bill entitled “To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to cooperate with the several Governments of Central America in the prevention, control and eradication of foot-and-mouth disease or rinderpest.”
The bill would provide the authority for this Department to cooperate with the Governments of the Central American nations in the conduct of operations or measures necessary to prevent or retard, suppress or control, or to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease or rinderpest. These measures are necessary to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest into Central and North America from South America.
Although Central America is presently free of foot-and-mouth disease, the Government of Colombia on April 21, 1966, nullified a covenant under which strict preventive and quarantine measures were carried out in the Choco Region in Colombia between the Atrato River and Panama. The quarantine measures were conducted cooperatively among Colombia, Panama, and the International Regional Organization for Crops and Animal Sanitation (OIRSA), an organization representing Central American countries. The recent spread of foot-and-mouth disease to the border regions of Colombia presents an immediate danger of spreading the disease to countries to the north, including the United States. Experience with this disease clearly demonstrates that only prompt, efficient, and effective operations can prevent the rapid spread among livestock. Once spread occurs, it becomes a tremendous technical and economic effort to eradicate the disease.
Under the proposal, a Commission for the Prevention of Foot-and-Mouth disease would be established similar to that which exists with Mexico. This would permit experienced personnel of the Department to provide technical and field assistance in the recognition of foot-and-mouth disease and other vesicular diseases. Rapid detection and prompt corrective action are fundamental to a program for preventation of foot-and-mouth disease. Any outbreak and spread of the disease in Central America presents a highly dangerous threat of spread into Mexico and beyond into the United States where substantial sums have been spent to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease.
The Central American countries are doing everything possible to prevent the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. Each nation has contributed financial support to expand activities including military patrols and animal inspectors along the Colombian-Panamanian border. Strict prohibitions are enforced against the importation of animals and animal by-products from foot-and-mouth disease
affected countries. Violators are punished severely. Nevertheless, the Ministers of Agriculture for Central American countries recognize that a regional program specifically directed against foot-and-mouth is needed. These nations have requested this Department to join in a cooperative prevention effort by providing trained and experienced personnel operating under an organization similar to that presently existing with the Republic of Mexico. The Central American countries have pledged the contribution of manpower, equipment, facilities, supplies, etc., toward the support of such an organization. Based on meetings with representatives of the Central American countries, this Department is convinced of the dedicated efforts of these countries to every possible measure to prevent the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. It is contemplated that the following minimum activities would be involved :
(a) Conduct continuing field surveys for vesicular diseases (diseases similar to Foot-and-Mouth).
(b) Investigate reports of vesicular diseases.
(d) Organize livestock owners to report all symptoms suspicious of a vesicular disease.
(e) Develop a practical plan for the immediate eradication of foot-andmouth disease if it ever occurs and train official veterinarians in the use of this plan.
(f) Develop informational materials to inform the livestock owners of the dangers of foot-and-mouth disease and other exotic diseases of economic
importance. There is currently a scarcity of animal products in the human diet in Central America and Panama. We are even more concerned about the future need for animal protein. The human population is increasing at a greater rate than the ability to produce animal protein. The proposed Foot-and-Mouth Disease Prevention Program is designed to protect the livestock industry in Central America and Panama from the devastation of foot-and-mouth disease, and thereby protect the social and economic benefits the area is obtaining from livestock improvement programs financed for the most part from international sources.
Enactment of the proposed legislation would necessitate additional appropriations of approximately $135,000 annually.
A similar letter is being sent to the President of the Senate.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that there is no objection to the presentation of this proposed legislation from the standpoint of the Administration's program. Sincerely yours,
ORVILLE L. FREEMAN, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN. We will now hear from Dr. Anderson.
STATEMENT OF DR. R. J. ANDERSON, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR,
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Dr. ANDERSON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of Agriculture on H.R. 16451. The bill would provide the authority for the Department to join in a cooperative program with the Central American nations in the conduct of operations and measures necessary to prevent or retard, suppress or control, or to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease or rinderpest.
Mr. Chairman, we have a common goal with the Central American countries, which is to remain free of foot-and-mouth disease in order to protect our livestock industry against the severe economic losses the disease would cause in this country. If foot-and-mouth disease should become established in Central America, the danger of the disease gaining entry into the United States would be greatly increased.
Under H.R. 16451, a cooperate foot-and-mouth prevention program would be initiated to keep the countries of Central America free of the disease and thereby further protect the livestock industry of the United States.
We have only to look to the recent foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in England and Wales to appreciate the enormous efforts required to combat this dread animal plague. By April 15, 1968, more than 200,000 cattle, 100,000 sheep and 110,000 pigs had to be slaugtered, bringing severe economic hardship to livestock owners.
Although Central America is presently free of foot-and-mouth disease, the Government of Colombia on April 21, 1966 nullified a covenant under which strict preventive and quarantine measures were carried out in the Choco Region in Colombia between the Atrato River and Panama. The quarantine measures were conducted cooperatively among Colombia, Panama, and the International Regional Organization for Crops and Animal Sanitation, otherwise referred to as Orsa, an organization representing Central American countries established in 1955.
The recent spread of foot-and-mouth disease to the border regions of Colombia presents an immediate danger of spreading the disease to Central American countries. This would greatly increase the threat of ultimate spread into Mexico and beyond into the United States where substantial sums have been spent to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease.
Experience with this disease clearly demonstrates that only prompt, efficient, and effective operations can prevent the rapid spread among livestock. Once spread occurs, it becomes a tremendous technical and economic effort to eradicate the disease.
The Central American countries are doing everything possible within their capabilities to prevent the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease. Each nation has contributed financial support to expand activities including military patrols and animal inspectors along the Colombian-Panamanian border.
Strict prohibitions are enforced against the importation of animals and animal byproducts from foot-and-mouth disease affected countries. Violators are punished severely. Recognizing technical limitations, the Central American countries have requested the United States to provide assistance.
The Department would join the several Central American nations in a cooperative prevention effort under an organization similar to that presently existing with the Republic of Mexico. We would provide experienced personnel for technical and field assistance for the recognition of foot-and-mouth and other vesicular diseases.
Rapid detection and immediate corrective measures are fundamental to a program for the prevention of foot-and-mouth disease. The Central American countries have pledged the contribution of manpower, equipment facilities, supplies, et cetera, toward the support of such a program.
It is contemplated that the following minimum activities would be involved :
(a) Conduct continuing field surveys for vesicular diseases—diseases similar to foot-and-mouth.
(b) Investigate reports of vesicular diseases.
(c) Collect diagnostic materials for laboratory tests, when needed.
(d) Organize livestock owners to recognize and report all symptoms suspicious of a vesicular disease.
(e) Develop a practical plan for the immediate eradication of footand-mouth disease if it ever occurs and train official veterinarians in the use of this plan.
(f) Develop informational materials to inform to livestock owners of the dangers of foot-and-mouth disease and other exotic diseases of economic importance.
The Department's share of the estimated annual costs for these activities would be approximately $135,000.
Mr. Chairman, I will be happy to respond to any questions you or members of the committee may have.
The CHAIRMAN. I note that it will cost exactly 1 percent of what we spent in the eradication of the foot-and-mouth disease in Mexico.
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And if we spend 1 percent a year to operate this program, it seems to me that it would be a real good investment. Of course, nobody can guarantee that it will prevent all future outbreaks, but this is probably the best way of presenting a repetition of the Mexican situation.
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir. We are sure that success in dealing with foot-and-mouth disease depends upon the ability for early detection and a system that will make it possible to deal with it immediately before it spreads to other areas of the county.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions?
Mr. TEAGUE of California. Is there anyone that you know of that thinks that this is not a desirable proposition? I do not know of any. one who is opposing this, do you?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know of anyone. Do you folks in the Department know of anyone in opposition to it?
Dr. ANDERSON. No sir. We have not received any word from any source of anyone who would be opposed to this proposed legislation.
Mr. TEAGUE of California. How long has it been since there has been a serious epidemic like they had in Mexico?
Dr. ANDERSON. Mexico had a serious outbreak in 1947 which was eradicated by 1952. The disease appeared a second time in May of 1953 and this was successfully eradicated in 1954. There has not been an outbreak since then.
The second outbreak involved the slaughter of approximately 23,000 animals. Because we had an organized program of surveillance, we had the ability to deal with the outbreak immediately and prevent spread. There were about 1 million animals that had to be destroyed in the 1947–1952 eradication program. The disease at that time had invaded about 17 Mexican States before we were able to get the program underway.
So this gives you some comparison of what to expect if you are prepared to deal with the disease.
Mr. TEAGUE of California. That speaks very well for the effectiveness of the program. Thank you. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Mayne.
Mr. MAYNE. Has the epidemic in the United Kingdom been brought under control?
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, it is under control now. The last report I had is that they were having a few outbreaks. But, they were confident that they did have it under control. They were able to bring it under control only after it was necessary to destroy more than 400,000 head of animals at a tremendous cost to their economy, besides the many
inconveniences and the burden on their commerce and everything else.
Mr. MAYNE. Has our Department of Agriculture obtained any significant new information about this problem from the United Kingdom as a result of their recent experience; and, if so, what is it?
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir. We have learned from this outbreak. The United Kingdom follows the same basic principles and techniques in dealing with the disease that we have in this country. The principal difference is that the United Kingdom imports fresh meat from countries where the disease exists, and we do not. We have a statutory prohibition against such importations. It is
. known that the meat from animals in the incubative stage or the recovery stage of the disease harbor the virus. The thing that the British were confronted with on this operation is that the means that had been successfully applied in the past to prevent spread were not adequate in this outbreak.
As a matter of assistance, we did send over 12 veterinarians to work with the British in the outbreak. They brought back considerable information which is causing us to take a hard look at our preparedness to deal with the disease, if it occurs. For example, we have learned that the present methods for the collection of milk by bulk tanks, trucks presents a hazard that was unknown.
The bulk tanks operate on a vacuum pump. They would go into a farm and collect milk, from the dairy tank, some of which was from animals that were infected so that the milk contained the virus. Then, the milk trucks go to the next farm to take on milk. The draw from the vacuum pump would spread an aerosal-like spray of milk on the premises around the milk barn and up and down the lanes, from the dairy house to the road.
This was a means that the British thought contributed to spread of the disease. We learned quite a bit from working with them on this outbreak.
Mr. MAYNE. You say, there were 12 veterinarians sent from here to the United Kingdom?
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir-12 of our veterinarians went over to work with them.
Mr. MAYNE. From the Department of Agriculture?
Dr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir. We have still quite a number of people who had experience from the Mexican eradication program but, like myself, they are a little older now and not quite so available. These were young people--young veterinarians who served a very important need in the United Kingdom. Our preparedness has been helped from the experience they gained during this epidemic.
Mr. MAYNE. Is there any feeling by the Department after getting the benefit of this experience, that additional legislation will be required to prevent this disease being transmitted from countries other than the Central American countries? This bill applies only to Cen