Exercise Roving Sands Update May 14, 2001
Editor's note: The following email was received from Carla Everett, Texas Animal Health Commission.
Notice from the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710 http://www.tahc.state.tx.us

Monday evening, May 14, 2001

German military equipment presented for off-loading at the Port of Beaumont for the "Roving Sands" military exercise has failed the "white glove" test. Inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Plant Protection and Quarantine (USDA-PPQ) today rejected nearly half of the 66 pieces of wheeled equipment shipped to the U.S. for a joint military exercise with the U.S., Netherlands and Great Britain June 15-24 at White Sands, New Mexico. The wheeled equipment was scheduled to be inspected and placed on trains bound for the exercise site.

"Dr. Lee Ann Thomas, assistant director of USDA-PPQ recently met with Texas' Agricultural Council (comprised of agricultural trade associations), to review the protocol for cleaning and inspection procedures. She also had assured us that her staff would closely scrutinize each piece of equipment, and stated that great care has been taken to ensure only spotless items were released," commented Dr. Linda Logan, Texas state veterinarian and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock health regulatory agency.

"Texas also was to have received military equipment from the Netherlands and Great Britain, where war is being waged against the devastating livestock virus, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). However, late last week, the U.S. Department of Defense decided to exclude military equipment from FMD-affected countries, and only Germany, which is FMD-free, was permitted to transport wheeled equipment to the U.S. for the exercise."

Dr. Logan reported that Dr. Jerry Don Bell, a TAHC veterinarian stationed in Beaumont, has been dockside to observe the inspection procedure. Dr. Bell is a former a career military officer.

"We will continue to work closely with all parties involved in this military exercise to protect the interests of livestock producers, said Dr. Logan. "Dr. Bell will be dockside Tuesday, May 15, as five more containers are inspected for off-loading. All equipment that passes inspection is to be loaded on trains for transport to Fort Bliss in El Paso."

For more information about FMD, visit the USDA website at www.usda.gov. For recorded traveler information call 1-866-safguard.