Beagle Brigade Act Seeks to Bolster Pest and Disease Protection

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Industry

The Beagle Brigade Act of 2022 has been introduced in an effort to enhance protections against foreign plant pests and diseases. More than 50 agricultural, veterinary, and livestock organizations have expressed support for the legislation. Bills are currently working their way through both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives as S. 3678 and H.R. 8432. The legislation would provide permanent authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center, the primary training facility for canines used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In a letter sent to Congressional leadership, the coalition of groups in support of the legislation point out the importance of supporting the so-called “Beagle Brigade.”

Beagle Brigade Act
COURTESY: Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection

“The introduction of foreign animal and plant pests and diseases costs the American economy tens of billions of dollars annually. The Agriculture Canine Teams of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) perform critically important agricultural inspections at the nation’s ports of entry,” the organizations state in the letter. “These teams play a vital role in trade and travel safety, and work every day to prevent the introduction of harmful foreign animal and plant diseases and pests into the U.S.”

Signatories of the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, California Citrus Mutual, National Pork Producers Council, and Western Growers. There are currently more than 116 agricultural canine teams working to screen materials entering the U.S. at border crossings, airports, cargo warehouses, cruise terminals, and mail facilities. The coalition notes the important work the canine teams perform in safeguarding American agriculture.

“Congress has consistently supported this work, including through the passage of the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019, which authorized the training of additional canine teams,” the letter states. “The Beagle Brigade Act would provide specific authorization for this highly successful training center and lay the groundwork for its continued success in the future.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West