“I feel very fortunate to live in a country that values our animals so highly.”
Lewiston, Idaho Veternarian’s Letter to the Editor
The present Ebola crisis in the world is frightening. I have submitted the following letter to the editor of the Lewiston Morning Tribune:
Editor, Lewiston Morning Tribune:
If I wish to import a horse into the United States from Liberia or any African country other than Morocco, the horse needs to undergo a 60-day quarantine period at a USDA approved quarantine facility prior to mingling with the general population of horses in this country. Africa has a disease called African Horse Sickness that does not exist in the US; this is the way we have kept it out of this country. African Horse Sickness does not cause disease in people, only horses; our government has determined that it would be devastating to the U.S. horse industry if it were to come here.
The United States (and virtually all other countries) require myriad tests and often quarantine prior to bringing in a foreign animal.
I can’t legally cross state lines in the United States with a horse or cow without a health certificate signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian stating that the animal has been inspected and found free of infectious disease. In most cases blood tests are also required. In fact I can’t legally cross the Snake River and ride my horse in Idaho without a health certificate and a negative blood test for Equine Infectious Anemia.
I’m not complaining; the United States of America , the States of Idaho and Washington as well as the other 48 states take the health of our livestock very seriously, and we have a very good record at keeping foreign animal diseases out of our country. I am happy to do my part to maintain biosecurity in our animal population.
If I am a resident of Liberia incubating Ebola, however, to enter the United States, all I need to do is present a valid visa, and lie when asked if I have been exposed to Ebola. Within hours (no quarantine required) I can be walking the streets of any city in the United States.
I feel very fortunate to live in a country that values our animals so highly.
David A. Rustebakke, DVM