APHIS FACTSHEET United States Department of Agriculture • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 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 goods. 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 http://www.aphis.usda.gov 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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