ANIMAL QUARANTINE AND CERTIFICATION SERVICES

~Dr Jimlee Sharma

Introduction:

QUARANTINE – Derived from the Greek word “Quaranth” which means period of 40 days. 1374 – First quarantine in Venice. 1890 – USA- first international livestock quarantine-at port of entry for 90 days.

DEFINITION OF QUARANTINE
It is the restraint placed upon the movements of persons, animals, plants or goods which are suspected of being carriers or vehicles of infections or of having been exposed to infection. It is the method intended to prevent the spread of diseases. Quarantine is detention and segregation for observation and testing for prescribed period of livestock and livestock products imported or meant for Export.

The purpose and scope of setting up of a Quarantine station is to prevent the ingress of exotic diseases in to the country through imported livestock and livestock products.With the increase of international trade and travel, every country is becoming more and more exposed to the danger of introduction of known and unknown transmissible diseases which have the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders, serious socio-economic or public health consequence and major importance in the international trade of animal and animal products. Some of those serious diseases of livestock are present in other countries but do not prevail in India.

Therefore, it became necessary to prevent the entry of any exotic disease through international trade and travel in to India and to ensure the health and safety of the animal and human life.

Keeping this in view, Government of India initiated a central sector scheme namely “Animal Quarantine & Certification Services” (AQCS) during the Fourth Five Year Plan (1969-74) under which four Animal Quarantine stations were set up at Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata & Mumbai and in recent years two more quarantine stations have been set up at Hyderabad and Bangalore in the 11th plan. The responsibility of preventing ingress of exotic diseases and thereby safeguarding the health of country’s livestock population lies solely with the Animal Quarantine and Certification services.

Purpose:

The major objective of the Animal Quarantine and Certification Services is to prevent ingress of livestock and poultry diseases exotic to India and issue export certificates of live animals and animal products as per the international requirements.

The Scheme on Animal Quarantine and Certification Services:

The Animal Quarantine & Certification Services activities are being performed by the Regional/Quarantine Officers at the six AQCS Stations located one each at the six major International ports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai,Kolkata,Hyderabad and Bangalore. These stations are functioning under the control of Ministry of Fisheries,Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying , Govt of India, New Delhi.

The Animal Quarantine & Certification Services in India have been taking prompt measures to protect the country from the ingress of any exotic animal diseases. As soon as the presence of a new disease is noticed in a particular country, immediate action is taken, prohibiting the import of susceptible species of animals and their products from that country.

The responsibility for implementation of import protocols, supervision of importations, extending quarantine facilities and procedures remain with Animal Quarantine and Certification Services. The supervision of imported commodities involves surveillance, monitoring, direct inspection/examination; quarantine, testing if necessary and certification and clearance at port of entry i.e. Delhi, Kolkata,Mumbai ,Chennai,Hyderabad and Bangalore. These functions contribute in managing the risk of importations.

This programme also envisages provision of an internationally acceptable certification services for the export of animal and animal products, comply with importing country’s health requirements or the health regulations prescribed in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, O.I.E.

Quarantine Policy in the International Trading Environment:

As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it must ensure that its import policies and procedures are in line with its international obligations under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary Measures. This agreement governs the imposition of measures that affects international Trade for the protection of animal and human life and health.

India has the sovereign right to maintain the highly conservative approach to quarantine risk management that reflects the high value of our agricultural industries and the importance attached to protecting our natural fauna and flora. However, if a level of protection is higher than that afforded by international standards adopted; it has to be justifiable scientifically through an import risk analysis. This justification applies equally to other WTO member countries.

The Animal Quarantine Regulation in India:

Importation of Livestock and Livestock products are regulated by the Livestock Importation Act, 1898 (Act No. 9 of 1898) and as amended by the Livestock Importation (Amendment) Act, 2001 (28 of 2001) (Annexure-II)and as notified in the official Gazette/official orders from time to time.
Objectives
• To prevent the ingress of any Exotic Livestock Diseases into India through importation of livestock & livestock products as per the provisions of Livestock Importation Act.
• To act as Defence force against ingress of exotic disease of Veterinary importance by implementing the policies pertaining to import regulation, restriction, prohibition of the livestock and livestock Products, Biological and Micro- Organisms.
• To provide an internationally accepted certification service for augmenting export and to increase National income.
• To inspect and register the plants/mills exporting the animal by-products.
Functions of Animal Quarantine and Certification Services in India:

Entry of any livestock or livestock product is regulated by the Livestock Importation Act, 1898 as amended in 2001. These importations are allowed subject to fulfillment of health/quarantine requirements specified by the Government of India that are developed depending upon the disease status of the exporting country and the species of Livestock/type of product to be imported.

• Implementation of the provisions of the Livestock Importation Act and Central Government orders in force on importation and exportation of livestock and livestock products.
• Detention, segregation, observation and testing of livestock and livestock products meant for import/export.
• Destruction and disposal of imported livestock and livestock products found infected and posing threat to the national health security.
• Pre-shipment Quality control to increase National exchequer.
• To have proper liaison with Custom authorities for effective and proper implementation of Livestock and Livestock Product Importation Act.
• To be in close association with the State Directors of Animal Husbandry regarding disease position and surveillance.
• To associate with the Heads of various recognized laboratories in India for getting expert opinion and for testing of materials.

• Export certification of Livestock/Livestock Products as per the requirements of the importing country and as prescribed in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, O.I.E.
• To supervise production and packing of LSP meant for export as per the specifications of the importing countries.
• Inspection and registration of plants/mills exporting the animal-by-products.

OTHER IMPORTANCE:
1. International Health Regulations (IHR).
2. Zoonosis – ensuring human and animal health all times (75% -80 % human infectious diseases have animal origin).
3. Illegal trade involving animal parts.
4. Illegal trade of drugs and other prohibited and valuable items (surgery and transplantation in animals).
5. Bio Terrorism (80% of pathogens that could potentially be used for bioterrorism are of animal origin)
Common Facilities Available in Animal

Quarantine Stations:

• Administrative Building with Office, Library, Computer Room, Conference Hall and stores
• Laboratory with facility to process and dispatch samples collected from imported animals in a complete sterilized manner to the Government approved laboratory for necessary testing. Also, to conduct routine test of blood, urine, faeces, skin scrapings etc. as or when required
• Collection and shipment of samples to reference laboratory as approved by Government of India
• Duty Rooms for visiting Veterinary Officer and Animal care takers
• Animal sheds for keeping the animals during quarantine i.e. Cattle, Horses, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Dogs, Cats, Laboratory Animals, Poultry/Other Birds, Misc./Zoo Animals etc.
• Isolation Shed/observation cum treatment shed
• Post Mortem room and incinerator

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AUTHORS:  Dr Jimlee Sharma
Quarantine Officer
Animal Quarantine and Certification Services
Ministry of Fisheries,Animal Husbandry and Dairying
Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying,Govt Of India
PO R-Gopalpur,Narayanpur,Kolkata -136,
North 24 Parganas,West Bengal, Mail – roaqcser.kol-dadf@gov.in
Telephone-033-25196777.

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