CATTLEMEN OF NEBRASKA, Box 241, Hyannis, NE 69350
Linda Wuebben, 402-357-3778 or Louis Day, 402-376-1538 or cell 402-376-5071
IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 5, 2008
of USDA Seals discovered in OIG Audit
NE Hyannis In March of this year, the Office of Inspector General
(OIG) published an audit they had recently completed which investigated the USDAs
control over the importation and movement of live animals.
did not represent a stellar performance by the USDA. Independent Cattlemen of
Nebraska (ICON) CEO Louis Day wants cattlemen and consumers alike to hear the
I want to bring to everyones attention an audit released
by the USDAs own office of the Inspector General, said Day. It
brings to light the failure of the USDAs Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS) to meet its statutory duty to protect U.S. cattle herds and consumers
against the introduction of foreign animal diseases.
the USDAs controls over the imports and movement of cattle within the United
States boundaries, the OIG discovered suspicious handling of the USDAs seals
which are used to secure doors on shipments of animals already having been inspected.
An unusually large number of seals were unaccounted for at five APHIS centers
and five ports of entry. It was found each site had a different manner of tracking
the seals. It could not always be determined if the seals were received, issued
or used, and there were 14,000 seals unaccounted for. APHIS officials stated they
had no knowledge of misuse of seals but alerted the centers to rectify the problem.
It was only one of many examples of mishandled situations.
The OIG audit
discovered the APHIS controls need to be strengthened when dealing with live imports
of animals landing on United States soil. Live animal inspections were found lacking
and animals were allowed to enter the United States even after they were rejected
for health concerns.
Other areas found lacking include a system for tracking
live animals after they are brought into the country. There was no follow-up procedure
to verify restricted cattle or swine arrived at an approved slaughter establishment.
Over 142,000 cattle and swine from Canada were slaughtered in United States slaughtering
facilities without proper import protocol procedures. Several ports-of-entry were
not in compliance with import requirements and have not been reviewed at any time
Incorrect import data was used by APHIS to determine patterns
for changes in disease in the future.
We at ICON feel there are
some very serious infractions, said Day. It demonstrates the failure
of the USDA-APHIS agency in performing its main duty protecting the
United States consumers and cattlemen.
The ICON organization takes
this audits result one step further by expressing concerns with the USDAs
position on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The inefficiency
of APHIS and its control over live importation of livestock clearly shows how
ineffective the agency would be if the NAIS program was implemented in the United
ICON directors and members are concerned with signing away their
property rights to the USDA by registering their property with a premise ID. No
guidelines are finalized and ICON members feel it is like giving them a blank
check to make demands later on which may be unreasonable.
we as legal private citizens of the State of Nebraska voluntarily give away authority
to a government agency or program which has no rules set in place? Day said.
The OIG report can be found at www.r-calf-usa.com or http://www.usda.gov/oig/new/html