Downgrade will be costly

Dec 16, 2008
Downgrade will be costly

TB (from page 1)

“All cattle from two of the affected herds have been removed and the third herd is under movement controls and a testing program to remove infected cattle and prevent any spread of disease.”

The downgrade in California’s TB status comes at a particularly costly time for the state’s beef cattle industry. The fall sale season is underway and winter grazing prospects could also be impacted by the decision, costing producers there millions of dollars before the TB free label can be regained. The state will be eligible to reapply for TB free status two years after the quarantine on the last affected herd is released, assuming no new cases are detected in the state.

“The best way for cattle producers to prevent bovine tuberculosis is to maintain a closed herd or isolate and test purchased additions and cattle re-entering the herd, prevent contact with cattle of Mexican origin, arrange professional diagnostic work-up of sick animals, maintain accurate records of animal identification and movements, and establish a tuberculosis testing policy for employees,” state officials advised in a release last week. The downgrade in California’s status follows an announcement that producers in New Mexico could also have their split-state status revoked two weeks ago after a case of TB was detected in an animal outside the two-county management area where TB was isolated.

If that decision stands, states suffering the impacts of the disease would include: California, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Because USDA sets only minimum guidelines for managing the disease, individual states are allowed to create their own, more restrictive plans for preventing and managing the disease within their borders. The result is a complex and often confusing web of regulations for producers to comply with before shipping cattle into or out of a state where the disease has been detected. In an effort to help our readership, WLJ has included a list of the most current requirements for TB testing in 17 western states in this week’s edition. As always, it is important to work with your veterinarian to comply. Before shipping cattle across state lines, producers should always consult with the state officials in each state transited before moving animals. Contact phone numbers for state agriculture departments or livestock boards are included with the regulations for each state. — John Robinson, WLJ Editor