Brazil Hopeful the Amazon Will Be Deemed Free of Hoof and Mouth Disease

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, Brazil is about to obtain international certification that the Amazon is an area free of hoof and mouth disease.

Consumption of products derived from the local cattle herd is mostly confined to the states that make up the region.

Another stage the government wants to complete refers to the Northeast region, especially the states of Maranhão and Pernambuco, for them, too, be declared areas free of hoof and mouth disease.

These priorities were presented by Minister Roberto Rodrigues at a meeting, Wednesday, January 25, with the Inter-American Group for the Eradication of Hoof and Mouth Disease (GIEFA).

The group is composed of eight private sector representatives, six representatives from the National Beef Cattle Council, three from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), and ten cattle ranchers.

The GIEFA will also visit Paraguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador to find out how the campaigns to eradicate hoof and mouth disease are faring in those countries.

The Ministry of Agriculture informed the GIEFA members of what Brazil has done since 1995 to ensure the health of its cattle herd.

According to the Ministry, there are 200 million head of cattle in Brazil at present. The government estimates that it will be possible to double or even triple domestic production "without having to cut down a single tree."

EU Mission

A technical mission from the European Union arrived in Brazil this week to begin a series of visits to the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná and São Paulo where they will inspect animal sanitation controls and laboratories where foot and mouth disease vaccines are manufactured.

"The EU is an important importer of Brazilian beef and this visit will permit them to verify our product quality controls and the care that goes into making vaccines," says José Severo, the Ministry of Agriculture superintendent in Rio Grande do Sul.

He explains that the mission will follow the food chain from the farm to the slaughterhouse.

Agência Brasil

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