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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Agriculture Dept. suspends cattle imports amid bird flu infections

By The Star Staff

Agriculture (DA) Secretary Ramón González Beiró announced on Tuesday that as a precautionary measure he has established additional requirements for issuing import permits for cattle and has stopped importations until the situation stabilizes, after being alerted by the federal government about the health of cattle in the states of Texas and Kansas with possible avian influenza infections.

“At this time, our staff has already inspected the cattle that we had previously received from Texas and the United States and there are no signs of infection so far,” González Beiró said in a written statement following the issuance of Administrative Order 2024-27.

“Of course, we are in communication with federal agencies and are evaluating livestock to ensure the quality of the animals that are reaching our population.”

The DA chief said his agency has received communications from the Texas Animal Health Commission alerting them about the situation impacting the health of livestock. Some of the symptoms of the disease include decreased milk production, impact on the quality of milk produced, decreased feed intake, diarrhea and fever, among others. However, the risk to the population is low.

“As we constantly receive animals from the United States, we must take precautionary measures to prevent the entry of the disease into Puerto Rico,” González Beiró said. “In view of this situation, under the provisions of Law 69 of June 18, 1957 and the import requirements established by the Department’s Agrological Laboratory, in addition to halting importation for the next few days until the situation improves, it will be necessary for the applicant for an Import Permit to comply with all the requirements established so far. In addition, it is necessary to report or certify the farm of origin of the cattle. All applications will be notified for consent before being approved.”

It should be noted that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tests carried out on livestock did not detect any change in the virus that could make it spread more easily to the population.

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