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Texas feeder cattle cleared from TB movement restrictions
Austin, Texas-Texas feeder cattle will not have to meet additional movement restrictions on Jan. 1, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says.
Texas feeder cattle will not have to meet additional movement restrictions on Jan. 1, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says new movement requirementswill be delayed at least nine months. The additional requirements were slatedafter officials found two cattle herds infected with bovine tuberculosis.
Dr. Linda Logan, executive director for the Texas Animal Health Commission(TAHC), says, "The Texas cattle industry has been extremely worriedfor several months, because after finding two infected cattle herds sincesummer 2001, Texas lost its 'free' status for cattle TB eradication."
Logan explains, "During the spring and summer, a TB working groupcomprised of representatives from Texas cattle businesses met with USDArepresentatives repeatedly to seek relief from unnecessary burdensome restrictionson feeder cattle movement."
The Texas Veterinary Medical Association was also represented with anumber of producer groups.
Logan says, "Our livestock industry moves about 1.5 million feedersteers, feeder bull calves and feeder heifers out of state each year. Hadthe movement restrictions been imposed, we would have been required to identifyfeeder steers with an official ear tag, and not only tag, but also TB testall feeder heifers and feeder bull calves." Logan explains, "Theserequirements would have cost millions, not only for the ear tags, whichwould have been provided by USDA, but also for the industry's labor coststo handle each feeder animal individually. The cattle industry's abilityto move feedlot cattle efficiently would have been damaged."
USDA is working on a risk assessment to determine if Texas feeder cattlepose a health danger to other states' cattle. If a statistically significantrisk is shown, USDA could propose tighter restrictions. Logan adds thatless than one in 3 million Texas feeder cattle pose a health danger to cattlein other states.
If federal regulations are proposed on movement of cattle, they probablywould not got into effect until late 2003.