Monday, May 16, 2011

US cattle inspectors leave Mexico amid drug war

Wearing a grey-felt cowboy hat, long-sleeve ivory-colored shirt and freshly laundered jeans, Dr. Arnoldo Gutierrez begins his daily rounds by walking into a dusty pen baking in the South Texas heat. "Hey, hey! Let's go!" he hollers. "C'mon, Whitey. Come here, Red." Gutierrez's "patients," addressed by their color, are more than 100 head of nervous cattle freed from a truck that just arrived from Mexico, crossing the international bridge over the Rio Grande at Laredo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian is looking for obvious signs of lameness, open wounds, appropriate castration and parasites carrying potentially deadly disease. For years, these inspections have been conducted before cattle cross the border, but the war raging among drug cartels in Mexico has prompted the U.S. to move some of its operations north. The change, instituted over the past year at three of the 11 ports along the U.S.-Mexico border, is drawing concern from some cattle raisers, who fear infections long eradicated in the U.S. but still showing up in Mexico will spread before inspection. Federal authorities say the cartel violence necessitated the change, and they have implemented safeguards to ensure that rejected cattle reaching the U.S. won't prompt any outbreaks...more

If it's true, as Obama says, that the border is as safe as its ever been, then why are his employees deserting the area for their own safety?

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