APHIS Proposes Amendments to Import Regulations for Horses

The Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seeks public comments on proposed amendments to its import regulations for horses. The proposed amendments would better align regulations with international standards, according to USDA. The proposal also allows both APHIS and the equine industry more flexibility for permitted imports, while continuing to mitigate the risk of bringing contagious equine metritis, or CEM, into the United States. CEM is a venereal disease that only affects horses, and can have a significant impact on reproduction. The United States is considered CEM free, and therefore horses imported into the United States must meet certain import criteria or undergo CEM quarantine procedures at an approved facility to demonstrate that CEM is not present. The proposed regulations also provide APHIS with more regulatory authority to enforce standards for transporting horses. The proposal was posted in the Federal Register Friday, with the comment period opening Monday.