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Rounds, Tester Lead Legislation to Block Paraguayan Beef Imports in Response to Animal Health Concerns

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) introduced bipartisan legislation to suspend beef imports from Paraguay. The senators’ bill would also require the establishment of a working group to evaluate the threat to food safety and animal health posed by Paraguayan beef. This comes after the Biden administration recently lifted a long-standing ban on Paraguayan beef imports.

“South Dakota ranch families work tirelessly to produce the safest, highest quality and most affordable beef in the world,” said Rounds. “Paraguay has historically struggled to contain outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has prioritized diplomatic initiatives in the region over the interests of the American cattle industry. This poses a significant threat to not only our producers, but our consumers as well. Consumers should be able to confidently feed their families beef that has met the rigorous standards required in the United States. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation that prioritizes the well-being of American producers and consumers.”

“I drove more than 50 miles one-way from my farm this past weekend to butcher a cow because Montana ranchers produce the best beef in the world and work tirelessly to ensure their livestock are safe,” said Tester. “Paraguay has failed to meet the standard put forward by Montana ranchers. That’s why I’m leading bipartisan legislation to stand up to the Biden Administration and block beef imports from Paraguay until we have good, reliable data to show they can meet these same high standards as American ranchers.”

This legislation is supported by R-CALF USA, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“We applaud Senator Rounds and Senator Tester for introducing this bill to protect both American livestock and American citizens,” said Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA. “By requiring a timely and thorough evaluation of potential risks to disease introduction and food safety associated with importing fresh and frozen beef from Paraguay, the bill will ensure that America’s food supply remains safe and it’s cattle herd remains healthy.”

“The U.S. cattle industry has been absolutely clear on the immediate need to halt the importation of beef from countries such as Paraguay and Brazil,” said Justin Tupper, President of U.S. Cattlemen’s Association. “There are numerous reasons to take action, including the threat to the health of the domestic cattle herd, the associated food safety risks due to government corruption within these nations, the deforestation of critical ecosystems to support industry in these countries, and the use of forced labor practices. Senators Rounds and Tester continue to demand accountability and transparency from countries like Paraguay and Brazil. USCA strongly urges other Members of Congress to support these efforts and join the call for the immediate half of Paraguayan and Brazilian beef imports.”

“The United States has the highest food safety and animal health standards in the world, and any country who wishes to trade with the United States must demonstrate that they can meet those standards,” said Ethan Lane, Vice President of Government Affairs of NCBA. “Paraguay’s long history of foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks and the lack of recent site visits, makes importing beef from Paraguay too risky. All our trade partners need to have inspection systems that can clearly provide an equivalent level of safety for animal health to prevent a possible foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the United States. Cattle producers thank Senators Mike Rounds and Jon Tester for introducing legislation to help protect consumers and cattle from foreign animal disease.”

Click HERE for full bill text.

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