The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) picked up several wins with the recent passage of the fiscal year 2006 agriculture appropriations bill:
Delayed implementation of the mandatory country-of-origin labeling law until Sept. 30, 2008. The statute, which was to take effect Sept. 30, 2006, requires meat products to be labeled with the place of birth of the livestock source, and where animals were raised and slaughtered.
Stripped an amendment known as the Akaka “downer animal” amendment that would have banned consumption of meat from cattle, sheep, swine, goats and horses unable to walk on their own.
Postponed for 120 days the effective date of a prohibition on Agriculture Department inspections of horses slaughtered for export and human consumption. The amendment, backed by the Humane Society of the United States, could have been used to target other species and production practices.
The $17.1 billion agriculture appropriations bill also funds several programs vital to NPPC:
$33 million to complete implementation of the premises identification system for the National Animal Identification System;
$58.8 million to complete modernization plans for the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, IA, a crucial link in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak;
$3 million for a national animal vaccine bank;
$8.9 million for surveillance of foot-and-mouth disease and foreign animal diseases; and
$250,000 to fund the Collaboration for Animal Health and Food Safety, a joint project of the pork industry and government that looks at pre-harvest, on-farm food safety issues.