The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association wants beef imports from Namibia halted following reports of Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreaks in the country. Namibia’s livestock industry is divided into two zones by what’s called the Veterinary Cordon Fence.
North of the VCF is where the infections have taken place, while south of the fence is considered an FMD-free zone. However, the region’s buffalo populations are consistent carriers of FMD and can move freely in and out of the country, potentially contacting domestic cattle herds. The country’s elephant populations have also been known to damage the fence and allow wild animals to cross to either side. “Now, more than ever, we need to ensure there are strong health and safety standards in place within our food supply chain to guard against threats to our agriculture industry,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “The U.S. hasn’t had an FMD outbreak for almost 100 years, but we continue to recklessly pursue trading relations with countries that have known outbreaks. We want this to be a prominent topic in the upcoming Senate and House Agriculture Committees.”
USCA estimates that a U.S. outbreak of FMD would result in as much as $14 billion in losses. Not only would it hit farm income, but it would also affect consumers and international trade relations.