With per capita lamb and mutton consumption fairly stable,
imports have offset the decline in domestic production. Lamb and
mutton imports, which currently account for nearly half of U.S.
consumption, are mainly from Australia (about 68-70 percent) and
New Zealand (about 30-32 percent).
In addition to importing meat products, the United States also
trades live animals with its North American trading partners.
Historically, live imports have come primarily from Canada, but
these have declined considerable since 2003. Live exports go
primarily to Mexico. The United States has a greater demand for
lamb than for mutton and, thus, imports Canadian lambs. Mexico has
a greater demand for mutton and, thus, imports U.S. culled ewes
(older, less productive females).