LAREDO, Texas — Agriculture Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Edward Avalos visited livestock inspection facilities and announced new efforts to protect the livestock trade between the United States and Mexico Oct. 14.
After touring a temporary inspection facility in Laredo, he announced that USDA will be opening a temporary cattle inspection facility in Eagle Pass, Texas, the third temporary facility opened since the suspensions earlier this year.
Since March 2010, USDA has suspended activities at three different livestock inspection stations in northern Mexico, due to security concerns related to drug cartel violence.
USDA took this action to protect the safety of veterinary personnel who traveled into Mexico to inspect and clear shipments of cattle destined for the U.S. Recognizing the importance of maintaining trade, USDA immediately began diverting shipments to other ports in the area.
Additionally, in order to resume regular import activities as quickly as possible, USDA identified two new, temporary locations inside the United States at the border crossings of Pharr/Hidalgo and Laredo.
Operations at the new location near Pharr resumed May 12, while Laredo operations resumed May 18. Because the Piedras Negras/ Eagle Pass port is a major cattle crossing area, USDA signed a lease with Amistad Pens for a temporary facility in Eagle Pass on Oct. 7.
The Amistad Pens are expected to begin accepting shipments of cattle from Mexico by the end of October. USDA continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of State to identify ongoing security concerns. No additional closures are planned at this time.