Friday, October 15, 2021

Goff: Banning dogs in ‘high-risk’ countries highlights health crisis

The United States this week began banning the import of dogs from more than 100 countries at risk of rabies and other highly contagious diseases, many of which breed by jumping to infect humans, in a call to raise awareness about the risks of importing foreign dogs from certain regions.

“This temporary measure is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect public health against the reintroduction of the canine rabies virus form (dog rabies) to the United States,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a recent statement.

The system is made up of public health officials, veterinarians, animal welfare workers and lawmakers who have been warning for several years about the importation of potentially diseased animals to rescue shelters, and then to the well-to-do in the health department.

The ban, however, has resulted in a generation of the public having scientifically endless laws that have demonized U.S. dog breeders – rightly arguing that dogs from random sources are preferred over healthy or purposeful breeding pets. The passage of this law has regulated several breeders of our best pets out of business, thus dramatically reducing our supply of healthy dogs to potentially diseased or sick dogs.

State and local level systems such as California, Illinois, Virginia and Iowa punish responsible and law-abiding U.S. breeders and create an environment that encourages large puppy mill campaigns abroad from suspicious locales whose animals eventually end up in the U.S. pet market as pets. “Rescue”.

The CDC estimates that of the approximately 1 million dogs imported into the United States each year, approximately 110,000 people are from countries with a “high risk” for rabies and other diseases. High-risk areas include many countries in the Middle East, Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Asia, including China.

The sanctions that are emerging are a dangerous mixture of fraud and negligence in exporting countries. Due to relaxed laws in the country of birth, some dogs designated for export to the United States will not receive the necessary vaccinations, and health certificates with dogs imported from these regions are usually invalid or forged.

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Recently, a dog rescued by a US rescue agency from Azerbaijan was kept with a family in Pennsylvania. The dog was one of 33 animals – 33 dogs and a cat – imported to Chicago O’Air International Airport on June 10, the rabies dog infected 12 people with the disease and launched a multistate investigation to determine the potential spread and cost to taxpayers. . As one and a half million dollars

Given how serious the situation has become, the CDC’s ban has been confirmed as a temporary status. But in the long run, policymakers should take two steps.

The first is the Healthy Dog Import Act 2021 (HR 4239), passed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and a number of other animal and public health experts. It requires a valid health certificate for all dogs imported into the United States, which is required for most years in other countries. Compared to her. The Healthy Dogs Import Act will go beyond the blanket ban and instead focus on the legitimate health of imported animals while allowing responsible imports of healthy dogs from different countries.

The second is to recognize the high public health value of high quality local pet breeders in our communities. Encouraging new and responsible pet breeders who can be a local source of skill and quality pets will remove the incentive for widespread imports of random and unhealthy dogs.

The annual demand for dogs as pets in the United States is estimated at 8 million animals per year, some of which are imported due in part to state laws that punish 1 million responsible domestic breeders. The time has come to repeal these laws and return to breeders responsible for importing public health risks.

Sheila Goffe is the vice president of public relations for the American Kennel Club. InsideSources

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