Amazon may be recognized internationally as free of hoof and mouth disease

25/01/2006 - 23h35

Lourenço Melo
Reporter - Agência Brasil

Brasília - According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply, Brazil is about to obtain international certification that the Amazon is an area free of hoof and mouth disease. Consumption of products derived from the local cattle herd is mostly confined to the states that make up the region.

Another stage the government wants to complete refers to the Northeast region, especially the states of Maranhão and Pernambuco, for them, too, be declared areas free of hoof and mouth disease. These priorities were presented by minister Roberto Rodrigues at a meeting, yesterday (25), with the Inter-American Group for the Erradication of Hoof and Mouth Disease (GIEFA). The group is composed of eight private sector representatives, six representatives from the National Beef Cattle Council, three from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), and ten cattle ranchers.

Starting today (26), the GIEFA will also visit Paraguay, Bolivia, and Ecuador to find out how the campaigns to erradicate hoof and mouth disease are faring in those countries.

The Ministry of Agriculture informed the GIEFA members of what Brazil has done since 1995 to ensure the health of its cattle herd. According to the ministry, there are 200 million head of cattle in Brazil at present. The government estimates that it will be possible to double or even triple domestic production "without having to cut down a single tree."

Translation: David Silberstein