Importation of Horses; Quarantine Requirements

Summary

We are amending the regulations concerning the importation of horses by adding Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Guinea- Bissau, the Member States of the European Union, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the nonrecognized areas of the former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia) to the list of countries where contagious equine metritis (CEM) exists. We are also adding Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to the list of countries considered to be affected with African horse sickness (AHS). Outbreaks of CEM, a highly transmissible venereal disease, have been reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Guinea-Bissau, Slovenia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the nonrecognized areas of the former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia). The Member States of the European Union either are affected with CEM or trade horses freely with other Member States that are affected with CEM, without testing the horses for the disease. Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates trade horses freely with other countries where AHS, a fatal viral disease, exists. This action will prohibit or restrict the importation into the United States of horses that have been in these countries. This action is necessary to protect horses in the United States from CEM and AHS. Neither disease is known to exist in the United States.

Full text

SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations concerning the importation of 
horses by adding Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Guinea-
Bissau, the Member States of the European Union, Slovenia, The Former 
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the nonrecognized areas of the 
former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia) to the list of countries 
where contagious equine metritis (CEM) exists. We are also adding Oman, 
Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to the list of countries considered 
to be affected with African horse sickness (AHS). Outbreaks of CEM, a 
highly transmissible venereal disease, have been reported in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Guinea-Bissau, Slovenia, The Former 
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the nonrecognized areas of the 
former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia). The Member States of the 
European Union either are affected with CEM or trade horses freely with 
other Member States that are affected with CEM, without testing the 
horses for the disease. Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates trade 
horses freely with other countries where AHS, a fatal viral disease, 
exists. This action will prohibit or restrict the importation into the 
United States of horses that have been in these countries. This action 
is necessary to protect horses in the United States from CEM and AHS. 
Neither disease is known to exist in the United States.

DATES: Interim rule effective May 13, 1994. Consideration will be given 
only to comments received on or before July 12, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Please send an original and three copies of your comments to 
Chief, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, USDA, room 804, 
Federal Building, 6505 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782. Please 
state that your comments refer to Docket No. 93-110-1. Comments 
received may be inspected at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th 
Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 
4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to 
inspect comments are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to 
facilitate entry into the comment reading room.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Joyce Bowling, Staff Veterinarian, 
Import-Export Animals Staff, National Center for Import-Export, 
Veterinary Services, APHIS, USDA, room 766, Federal Building, 6505 
Belcrest Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782, (301) 436-8170.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The regulations concerning the importation of horses (contained in 
9 CFR 92.300 through 92.326 and referred to below as the regulations) 
are designed to protect against the introduction into the United States 
of various equine diseases such as contagious equine metritis (CEM) and 
African horse sickness (AHS). Neither CEM, a highly transmissible 
venereal disease, nor AHS, a fatal viral disease, is known to exist in 
the United States.

Contagious Equine Metritis

    Section 92.301(c)(1) of the regulations prohibits or restricts the 
importation into the United States of all horses from Austria, Belgium, 
Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Federal Republic of 
Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the 
United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the 
Isle of Man) because of the existence of CEM in those countries. This 
section also prohibits or restricts the importation into the United 
States of all horses that have been in these countries within the 12 
months immediately preceding their export to the United States.
    We have received information from the Governments of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Guinea-Bissau, Slovenia, The Former 
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and the nonrecognized areas of the 
former Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia) that there have been 
outbreaks of CEM in these countries. In response, we are amending 
Sec. 92.301(c)(1) to add these countries to the list of countries where 
CEM exists. We are also adding a note to this section to explain the 
status of Montenegro and Serbia. The note states that Montenegro and 
Serbia have asserted the formation of a joint independent State 
entitled ``The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,'' but this entity has 
not been formally recognized as a State by the United States.
    Currently, 12 European countries comprise the Member States of the 
European Union (EU). These countries include Belgium, Denmark, Federal 
Republic of Germany, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the 
Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Belgium, Denmark, 
Ireland, Italy, Federal Republic of Germany, France, the Netherlands, 
and the United Kingdom are already listed in Sec. 92.301(c)(1) as 
countries where CEM exists.
    However, Greece, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain, which are 
considered to be free of CEM, trade freely within the EU. The Member 
States of the EU move horses freely without testing for CEM. Further, 
many countries that are affected with CEM have applied for membership 
in the EU. Therefore, horses imported from Member States of the EU that 
have been considered to be free of CEM present an unacceptable risk 
that CEM could be introduced into the United States.
    Therefore, we are also amending Sec. 92.301(c)(1) to include the 
Member States of the EU in the list of countries where CEM exists. At 
the same time, we are not removing from the list individual Member 
States of the EU that are affected with CEM. These steps will ensure 
that the Member States of the EU that are affected with CEM will remain 
on the list whether or not they retain their EU membership. Conversely, 
adding the phrase ``the Member States of the European Union'' will 
ensure that new countries that join the EU will be covered immediately 
by these provisions.
    Also, we are making two miscellaneous changes to Sec. 92.301(c)(1) 
to facilitate the use of the list of countries where CEM exists. We are 
alphabetizing the list of countries to make them easier to read. 
Further, we are changing the entry for ``Czechoslovakia'' to the two 
Republics now recognized by the United States: ``Czech Republic'' and 
``Slovakia.''

African Horse Sickness

    Section 92.308(a)(2) of the regulations requires all horses 
intended for importation from Saudi Arabia, Spain, The Yemen Arab 
Republic, and all countries on the continent of Africa, including 
horses that have stopped in or transited those countries, to enter the 
United States only at the port of New York and be quarantined at the 
New York Animal Import Center in Newburgh, New York, for at least 60 
days because those countries are considered to be affected with AHS.
    We have received information that during the Persian-Gulf War, the 
Governments of Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates allowed 
movement of horses from other countries considered to be affected with 
AHS, without testing the horses for AHS. Therefore, horses imported 
into the United States from Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates 
present an unacceptable risk of introducing AHS into the United States. 
As a result of this increased disease risk, special efforts are 
necessary to determine the health of these animals.
    To establish the health of horses intended for importation from 
Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, we are amending 
Sec. 92.308(a)(2) to add these countries to the list of countries 
considered to be affected with AHS. This means that horses intended for 
importation from Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates may enter 
the United States only at the port of New York and must be quarantined 
at the New York Animal Import Center in Newburgh, New York, for at 
least 60 days. This 60-day quarantine will provide the necessary time 
to test or examine horses intended for importation from these countries 
for AHS and other communicable diseases. Only if the horses test 
negative and are free from clinical evidence of communicable disease, 
as certified by the port veterinarian, will horses from Oman, Qatar, 
and the United Arab Emirates be released from quarantine. This action 
will help ensure that AHS is not introduced into the United States.

Immediate Action

    The Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
has determined that there is good cause for publishing this interim 
rule without prior opportunity for public comment. Immediate action is 
necessary to prevent the introduction of CEM and AHS into the United 
States.
    Because prior notice and other public procedures with respect to 
this action are impracticable and contrary to the public interest under 
these conditions, we find good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553 to make it 
effective upon publication in the Federal Register. We will consider 
comments that are received within 60 days of publication of this rule 
in the Federal Register. After the comment period closes, we will 
publish another document in the Federal Register. It will include a 
discussion of any comments we receive and any amendments we are making 
to the rule as a result of the comments.

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This interim rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12866.
    For this action, the Office of Management and Budget has waived its 
review process required by Executive Order 12866.
    This interim rule will help protect horses in the United States 
from CEM and AHS. There are probably between 5.2 and 6.6 million horses 
in the United States. The total value of U.S. horses is about $8 
billion ($1,430 each). A very small fraction (between 0.2 and 0.3 
percent, based upon 1991 to 1992 figures) of those horses were imported 
into the United States.
    Except for the Member States of the EU, the affected countries 
export very few horses to the United States. Horses imported into the 
United States from the Member States of the EU accounted for under 10 
percent of the total U.S. horse imports in 1991 and 1992. From 1991 to 
1992, the United States imported about 32 horses (less than 0.2 percent 
of the total U.S. horse imports) from countries whose horses will be 
prohibited or restricted for the first time.
    The horses imported from the affected countries tend to be higher-
valued, purebred horses. These horses, worth 10 to 20 times more than 
the average price per horse from the rest of the world, are likely to 
continue to be imported despite any additional costs related to 
quarantine and testing. Quarantine and testing of horses has been 
estimated at $4,700 for the 60-day AHS quarantine and between $1,200 
and $1,500 for the quarantine and testing that is required for CEM.
    The U.S. trade in horses is expected to be minimally changed by 
this rule, since some restrictions already apply to the importation of 
horses into the United States from most of the affected countries. All 
but four of the Member States of the EU are already included in the 
list of countries where CEM exists. Two of those four are affected with 
AHS and are already subject to restrictions on the importation of their 
horses into the United States.
    We are not aware of any importers that are classified as small 
businesses; however, we expect the effect of the rule change to be 
minimal for any U.S. business, large or small.
    Under these circumstances, the Administrator of the Animal and 
Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that this action will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

Executive Order 12778

    This rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12778, Civil 
Justice Reform. This rule: (1) Preempts all State and local laws and 
regulations that are inconsistent with this rule; (2) has no 
retroactive effect; and (3) does not require administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court challenging this rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This document contains no information collection or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 3501 
et seq.).

List of Subjects in 9 CFR Part 92

    Animal disease, Imports, Livestock, Poultry and poultry products, 
Quarantine, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Accordingly, 9 CFR part 92 is amended as follows:

PART 92--IMPORTATION OF CERTAIN ANIMALS AND POULTRY AND CERTAIN 
ANIMAL AND POULTRY PRODUCTS; INSPECTION AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR 
CERTAIN MEANS OF CONVEYANCE AND SHIPPING CONTAINERS THEREON

    1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 7 U.S.C. 1622; 19 U.S.C. 1306; 21 U.S.C. 102-105, 
111, 114a, 134a, 134b, 134c, 134d, 134f, 135, 136, and 136a; 31 
U.S.C. 9701; 7 CFR 2.17, 2.51, and 371.2(d).

    2. In Sec. 92.301, paragraph (c)(1) is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 92.301   General prohibitions; exceptions.

* * * * *
    (c) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, 
notwithstanding the other provisions of this part concerning the 
importation of horses into the United States, the importation of all 
horses from the following listed countries and the importation of all 
horses that have been in the listed countries within the 12 months 
immediately preceding their export to the United States is prohibited 
because either contagious equine metritis (CEM) exists in the listed 
countries or CEM exists in countries that trade horses freely with the 
listed countries, without testing for CEM: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Federal Republic of 
Germany, Finland, France, Guinea-Bissau, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the 
Member States of the European Union, The Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, 
Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of 
Macedonia, the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, 
Wales, and the Isle of Man), and the nonrecognized areas of the former 
Yugoslavia (Montenegro and Serbia).

    Note: Montenegro and Serbia have asserted the formation of a 
joint independent State entitled ``The Federal Republic of 
Yugoslavia,'' but this entity has not been formally recognized as a 
State by the United States.
* * * * *


Sec. 92.308   [Amended]

    3. In Sec. 92.308, paragraph (a)(2), the first sentence is amended 
by adding to the list of countries, in alphabetical order, the 
following countries: ``Oman,'' ``Qatar,'' and ``the United Arab 
Emirates.''

    Done in Washington, DC, this 9th day of May 1994.
Lonnie J. King,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 94-11676 Filed 5-12-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-P  

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