WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture is proposed updates regulations for live-animal exports. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) the updates are needed to address evolving business practices and changes in livestock import requirements in other countries.

The proposed rules would eliminate most of the requirements for export certifications, tests and treatments required for the export of live animals. However, APHIS will retain certain export requirements, such as issuance of export-health certificates (EHCs) for livestock intended for export.

APHIS said the changes would provide more flexibility to businesses and better support livestock exports to overseas markets. Additional proposed changes include:

• If an importing country requires an EHC for live animals other than livestock or for hatching eggs or animal germplasm, APHIS would require that the animals must be accompanied by the EHC to be eligible for export from the United States;

• Pre-export livestock inspection would be allowed to occur at facilities other than an export inspection facility at the port of embarkation, under certain circumstances; and

• Specific standards for export inspection facilities and ocean-transport vessels would be replaced with performance standards.

APHIS will give consideration to comments receivedon or before April 27, 2015.