December 20, 2013
CHINA PROMISES TO PROMOTE US BEEF IMPORTS
China promised Friday to ease restrictions on imports of U.S. beef and to speed up work on opening its market for government purchases of software and other goods. The pledges came as American and Chinese envoys ended a meeting of the annual U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade amid disputes over market access for goods from solar panels to genetically modified corn.
FDA ISSUES GUIDANCE FOR JUDICIOUS ANTIMICROBIAL USE
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is implementing a plan to help phase out the use of medically important antimicrobials in food animals for food production purposes, such as to enhance growth or improve feed efficiency. The plan would also phase in veterinary oversight of the remaining appropriate therapeutic uses of such drugs. In a final guidance issued this week, the FDA lays out a road map for animal pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily revise the FDA-approved use conditions on the labels of these products to remove production indications.
SENATORS INTRODUCE BILL TO ELIMINATE CORN ETHANOL MANDATE
A group of 10 U.S. Senators have introduced a bipartisan bill to eliminate the corn ethanol mandate, arguing that current law raises the cost of food and animal feed and damages the environment. The bill, introduced by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat; Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican; and eight cosponsors, faces an uphill battle as many lawmakers from agricultural states support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that dictates that rising volumes of ethanol made from grains, including corn, be blended into motor fuel. Feinstein said the bill supports development of advanced biofuels, including those from made from soybean oil, grasses and trees. But it would eliminate the mandate for corn–based ethanol, which currently represents the vast majority of biofuels produced in the United States. She said the corn mandate diverts a large proportion of the U.S. corn crop towards making fuel, raising animal feed and food prices.
FEDERAL APPEALS COURT REMOVES BAN ON HORSE SLAUGHTER
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday, Dec. 13, ordered that a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter be lifted, opening the door for three companies in New Mexico, Iowa and Missouri while an appeal of a lawsuit filed by HSUS, Front Range Equine Rescue and other animal rights organizations proceeds. The 10th Circuit’s order late last week said the animal rights groups had “failed to meet their burden for an injunction pending appeal.” Horse slaughter facilities approved by USDA may now begin operation under the court’s decision.
According to the Associated Press, Blair Dunn, an attorney for Valley Meat (NM) and Rains Natural Meats(MO), said the order lifts the emergency status of the case, meaning it will likely be months before a final decision is issued and that the plants are ready to open. "They are getting ready to go as quickly as they can. It shouldn't take too long. Not more than two weeks," he said. HSUS said “the fight for America’s horses is not over.”
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