Four additional Brazilian states have been recognized as free of foot-and-mouth disease without the need for vaccinations, by the World Organization for Animal Health, OIE.
Agriculture Ministry Tereza Cristina Dias described the occasion as a historical day for the Brazilian livestock sector, which brings to five the number of states that have eradicated the disease that causes lesions and lameness in cattle and sheep.
Brazil, with the world's biggest commercial cattle herd is also the largest global beef exporter, shipping more than 2 million tons valued at US$ 8.4 billion in 2020. Companies including JBS, Marfrig and Minerva are based in Brazil, which is also the world's biggest beef exporter ahead of the United States and Australia.
The additional states now considered free of foot-and-mouth disease free without vaccination are Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Acre, and Rondônia, Dias said. Parts of Amazonas and Mato Grosso were given the same status, Dias added.
Santa Catarina was for a long time the only state in Brazil that was considered foot-and-mouth disease free without vaccination.
As a result, 60 million vaccine doses against the virus will no longer be applied annually to a herd of more than 40 million head of cattle in Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Acre, Rondônia, and parts of Amazonas and Mato Grosso. The savings are estimated at some US$ 35 million annually.
The recognition was made official on May 27 and enables Brazil to search for markets that pay more, such as Japan, South Korea, the United States, Mexico, and the European Union. However, there is little scope for significant changes in shipments, as sales to the world’s top importers, including China, are already high.
The measure also represents an extra challenge for the herd health inspection, to avoid any future complications.
To that respect the minister Tereza Cristina and the certified state governors warned against any form of regression.
“We are starting a new era, but we need the state services to be very vigilant from now on. The responsibility of the official veterinary service increases with this change in status. The maintenance of this achievement will depend on the continuity of support and investment in agricultural defense”, said Tereza Cristina.
The challenge is to hire more federal tax auditors for livestock, or the approval of the Self-Control Law, which extends the responsibility of the achievement on the private entities in the chain.