The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service by farmservice


                                                                                             United States
                                                                                             Department of

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •                                              Animal and
                                                                                             Plant Health

                                                                                             April 1998

The Animal and Plant                                           Overseas, APHIS operates preclearance pro-
                                                          grams to eliminate pests in some imported products
Health Inspection                                         right at the source. IS officials stationed in foreign
                                                          countries maintain a comprehensive information net-
Service                                                   work on the status of animal and plant pests and dis-
                                                          eases around the world.
      “Protecting American agriculture” is the basic
                                                          Combating Pests and Diseases
charge of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
(USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service               IS officials also conduct cooperative agricultural
(APHIS). APHIS provides leadership in ensuring the        pest and disease control and eradication programs in
health and care of animals and plants. The agency         foreign locations, such as the screwworm eradication
improves agricultural productivity and competitive-       program in Central America and foot-and-mouth dis-
ness and contributes to the national economy and the      ease program zone in Panama and Colombia.
public health.                                                  In this country, APHIS searches for and monitors
     The professional APHIS workforce strives to          animal and plant pests and diseases. If foreign pests
meet the needs of an ever-expanding customer base.        get past our border defenses, APHIS quickly takes
We use state-of-the-art technology to keep up with        emergency actions to eliminate the threat to U.S.
trends in agriculture and international trade and other   agricultural productivity.
pertinent issues. All of our work enhances the ability          In cooperation with State animal health agen-
of the United States to buy and sell agricultural prod-   cies, VS employees combat certain domestic animal
ucts in the international marketplace and fortifies our   diseases, including cattle and swine brucellosis,
abundant, safe, and diverse food supply.                  bovine tuberculosis, pseudorabies in swine, and
     APHIS has five major program areas: Plant Pro-       scrapie, a disease of sheep and goats. WS employ-
tection and Quarantine (PPQ), International Services      ees work with their State counterparts to monitor cer-
(IS), Veterinary Services (VS), Animal Care (AC), and     tain wildlife diseases like rabies and Lyme disease.
Wildlife Services (WS). In carrying out the APHIS               PPQ fights certain domestic plant pests, includ-
mission, employees in these program areas perform         ing boll weevil and gypsy moth, in programs that
the following functional activities:                      emphasize biological control and integrated pest
                                                          management. To prevent the spread of certain domes-
Safeguarding Our Borders                                  tic plant pests, APHIS cooperates with and provides
                                                          technical assistance to State plant health agencies.
     APHIS safeguards U.S. borders against the
entry of foreign agricultural pests and diseases. At            Through health certification of animals and
airport terminals, seaports, and border stations, PPQ     plants and agricultural products for international ship-
officers inspect international conveyances and the        ments, we facilitate agricultural exports. APHIS helps
baggage of passengers for plant and animal products       negotiate other countries’ entry requirements for U.S.
that could harbor pests or disease organisms. At          agricultural products and assists U.S. agricultural
                                                          exporters by providing health certificates for their
international airports, detector dogs in APHIS’ Beagle
Brigade help find prohibited agricultural materials.
PPQ officers also inspect ship and air cargoes, rail
                                                          Caring for Animals
and truck freight, and package mail from foreign
countries. At animal import centers, APHIS veterinar-          Through enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act,
ians check animals in quarantine to make sure they        APHIS enhances the care of animals used in research
are not infected with any foreign pests or diseases       and exhibition, sold in the wholesale pet trade, and
before being allowed into the country.                    transported commercially. APHIS also enforces the
Horse Protection Act to prevent the use of cruel prac-     Leading Scientific Research and Interna-
tices to accentuate the gait of show horses. The           tional Standards Setting
agency’s objective is to bring people into compliance            APHIS has many programs that conduct research
with these laws, and APHIS works with USDA-licensed        on plant and animal health issues. The agency takes
dealers and exhibitors toward this end. However,           the lead when working with groups, panels, and other
when individuals violate APHIS’ standards and regu-        organizations designed to enhance animal or plant
lations or show little concern for the welfare of          health. Several APHIS programs participate in set-
animals protected under these laws, APHIS makes            ting international standards for phytosanitary and
certain that the individuals are prosecuted to the full    zoosanitary issues that support trade in the global
extent of the law.                                         marketplace. Because trade agreements like the
     APHIS ensures that veterinary biologics—animal        General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the
vaccines and related products—are safe, pure, potent,      North American Free Trade Agreement encourage
and effective. VS laboratory technicians check test        free and open trade, animal and plant health stan-
samples of production runs of manufacturers licensed       dards are vital to protecting a country’s agricultural
by the VS Center for Veterinary Biologics in Ames, IA.     resources from exotic pests and diseases.
Any biologics that don’t meet Federal standards are
                                                                 The National Veterinary Services Laboratories
kept off the market.
                                                           include several facilities in Ames, IA, and the high-
                                                           security biocontainment Foreign Animal Disease
Protecting the Environment and Manag-                      Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island, off the coast of
ing Wildlife Damage                                        New York’s Long Island. VS’ laboratories analyze
      One of the most important new trends in agricul-     blood, tissue, and environmental samples to promote
ture is the development of the agricultural biotechnol-    disease tracking and identification. Veterinarians
ogy industry. APHIS protects the environment by            who specialize in diagnosing foreign diseases seldom
analyzing the potential effects of introducing geneti-     seen in U.S. animals help APHIS epidemiologists in
cally engineered organisms, such as a squash plant         the field find the cause of a disease outbreak as
whose genetic characteristics have been modified to        quickly as possible.
incorporate resistance to specific plant viruses. If,            The Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health
after careful review, APHIS scientists determine that      (CEAH), headquartered in Fort Collins, CO, provide
such an introduction will not be harmful, they issue a     information and technical services for animal health
permit for the organism’s release and interstate           and other agricultural interests. CEAH is made up of
movement. In this area, APHIS works closely with its       three individual centers working together. The Center
counterparts in the Environmental Protection Agency        for Animal Disease Information and Analysis collects,
and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser-           manages, analyzes, and disseminates information
vices’ Food and Drug Administration.                       critical to APHIS programs. The Center for Animal
      The WS program responds to requests by farm-         Health Monitoring delivers factual reports and data
ers, the public, private companies, airport managers,      about animal health, welfare, production, product
and other Federal and local government agencies            wholesomeness, and the environment. The Center
that need help in dealing with wildlife damage on pri-     for Emerging Issues researches and assesses, with a
vate or public property. WS has the authority to           view toward the future, animal health and other agri-
assist in solving problems that are created when wild-     cultural issues to facilitate informed decisionmaking.
life causes damage to agricultural, urban, or natural            The National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC),
resources. WS also assists with wildlife problems          also in Fort Collins, functions as WS’ research arm.
involving threats to human health and safety and the       The Center is a world leader in developing tools and
survival of threatened or endangered species.              technologies to aid in resolving conflicts between
       After developing agreements with governmental       people and wildlife. NWRC research activities empha-
and private-sector cooperators in response to specific     size socially acceptable methods that reduce or stop
requests for assistance, WS provides help to prevent       wildlife damage effectively and economically, mini-
or reduce wildlife damage through two approaches:          mizing risks for people, wildlife, and the environment.
technical assistance and direct control. WS’ biolo-              In existence since the 1920’s, the Center is the
gists help farmers, ranchers, and all Americans learn      only research facility in the world devoted exclusively
how to live with wildlife.                                 to the study of wildlife damage control. In Fort
      In all of APHIS’ activities, employees analyze the   Collins and at NWRC’s field stations in eight States,
environmental impacts of the agency’s programs to          professional employees specialize in wildlife biology,
make sure that they comply with environmental laws         chemistry, physiology, biological and physical science
and regulations.                                           technology, statistics, computer programming, and
electronic engineering. NWRC leverages resources            For More Information
by forming cooperative ties with universities, non-               APHIS has an open-door information policy. We
profit research facilities, and other public and private    encourage people to learn about our activities, and
research entities. NWRC has achieved an integrated,         we try to share as much information as possible.
multidisciplinary research program that is designed to            The USDA visitor center and outreach program
provide scientific information and solutions to wildlife    at Riverside is located in APHIS headquarters build-
damage problems.                                            ing in Riverdale, MD. The visitor program helps visi-
      The Center for Plant Health Science and Tech-         tors to better understand USDA’s role in an expanded
nology in Raleigh, NC, has recently been established        global trade environment. The center is a branch of
by PPQ. The Center is the hub in PPQ’s network of           the USDA visitor center located in Washington, DC.
plant protection centers, satellite laboratories, sta-      It is open during normal business hours and is the
tions, and the National Biological Control Institute. It    central contact point to receive domestic and interna-
is designed to provide the best possible scientific and     tional visitors to the Riverside complex. The staff
technical support for the management of phytosanitary       provides assistance with information exchange, train-
issues critical to protecting plant resources and facili-   ing programs, meetings, conferences, and other
tating agricultural trade.                                  learning experiences.
      Work includes analyzing pest introduction path-             The visitor center’s learning laboratory has infor-
ways and pest spread as well as strategic approaches        mation on many topics. Learning modules provide
to pest exclusion, performing pest risk assessments         basic sanitary and phytosanitary concepts on interna-
and mitigating damage caused by plant pest and dis-         tional standards and organizations and how the
ease incidents, and assembling and delivering state-        United States interprets those standards in its own
of-the-art technologies and methodologies that              decisionmaking process.
improve the effectiveness of plant health programs.               For additional information on APHIS, visit our
Center personnel maintain collaborative working part-       Web page at or write to
nerships with Federal and State agencies, academic          USDA, APHIS, Unit 1, Distribution Center, 4700 River
institutions, and the private sector to accomplish work     Rd., Riverdale, MD 20737–1232.
through facilitation and active participation in problem          APHIS brings food to your table, stimulates glo-
solving.                                                    bal economies, safeguards our Nation’s agricultural
                                                            resources, and protects and enhances its ecosys-
                                                            tems. In short, when America sits down for dinner,
                                                            APHIS helps set the table.

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