The United States is free of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and the U.S. should continue to follow science-based research in continued efforts to prevent the animal disease in the U.S., National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) CEO Chuck Schroeder told a senate panel today.

"The absence of BSE in this country is due to cooperation between the public and private sectors," Schroeder said. "Through import bans, active surveillance and monitoring and a 1997 FDA ban of feeding ruminant protein to cattle, we have multiple firewalls for prevention."

Testifying at a hearing on BSE prevention efforts before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism, Schroeder outlined several considerations for Congress including science-based decision making, strict regulatory enforcement and increased funding for federal animal health and research agencies.

Schroeder called on Congress to support efforts by the federal government, state departments of agriculture, and private industry to ensure full compliance with the 1997 feed ban and urged Congress to double funding for agriculture research to $2.4 billion annually over the next five years.