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Washington Update - American Horse Council

USDA Proposes to Remove Saudi Arabia from AHS-Affected Countries
Submitted by admin on Tue, 07/01/2014 - 17:16

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA or Department) has proposed to change the federal import rules to remove Saudi Arabia from the list of countries affected by African Horse Sickness (AHS). African Horse Sickness is a highly contagious and deadly disease that affects horses, donkeys, and mules.

In March 2009, the Government of Saudi Arabia asked USDA to recognize the country as a region free of AHS. This status is important because under current USDA import requirements horses from AHS countries must be quarantined for sixty days before permanent entry into the U.S. is permitted Horses from countries not affected by AHS may be admitted with a shorter quarantine period.

USDA initiated a study using information from Saudi Arabia in part. Based on its evaluation, USDA concluded that “AHS is not known to be present in Saudi Arabia and that the surveillance, prevention and control measures implemented by Saudi Arabia are sufficient to minimize the likelihood of introducing AHS into the U.S. via imports of equids from the country.” But this finding cannot be made effective without an amendment to the current federal regulations. Such a change requires the Department to publish the proposed change and allow the public to review and comment on its conclusions and proposal before it can become effective.

Public comments can be submitted to USDA up to August 11, 2014. The AHC will be submitting comments. For more information on the proposal, please visit the proposal in the Federal Register.

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