US cattle inspectors leave Mexico amid drug war

By MICHAEL GRACZYK | May 16, 2011 | 3:28 AM EDT

LAREDO, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has shifted some of its cattle inspection stations from Mexico into the United States after concerns about drug cartel violence.

The change has occurred over the past year at three of the 11 stations along the border that check cattle being imported from Mexico. All the new stations are in Texas.

Ranchers say they understand why the federal government made the move, which is supposed to be temporary. But some fear that by moving the stations into the U.S., there could be increased chance that parasites or cattle diseases could spread into the states.

If that happened, cattle owners would face the huge expense of treating cattle in an infected area.

USDA officials say they're taken steps to ensure the importation of cattle remains safe.