The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to remove Saudi Arabia from the list of countries affected with African Horse Sickness (AHS). In a March 30 announcement, the Department stated that based on its evaluation of the health status of the country, Saudi Arabia is free of AHS. USDA has determined that the importation of horses, mules, zebras, and other equids from Saudi Arabia presents a low risk of introducing AHS into the U.S. The change, which applies to both temporary and permanent entry of horses, means that horses can enter the U.S.
The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has announced the launch of a new equestrian health study called “Equine 2015” to begin in May. This will be NAHMS third national study of the U.S. equine health issues; the previous studies were conducted in 1998 and 2005.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2015 (S.850). The bill would prohibit the interstate transport of any horse in a double-deck truck. Earlier this year, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced a House version of the bill. This bill has been introduced in the last several Congresses.
On March 17, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) announced they will resume processing H-2B petitions, but will continue to suspend premium processing until further notice. Earlier this month, the DHS and DOL stopped processing all H-2B visa applications in response to a court decision.
The AHC, urged members of Congress to contact DHS and DOL and ask the agencies to resume processing H-2B applications immediately.