USDA removes requirement for bovine TB testing for breeding cattle from Manitoba
By Kate Ayers
On July 1, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) removed its requirement that Manitoba breeding cattle and bison be tested for bovine tuberculosis (TB) before export to America.
The USDA lifted this requirement following the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA’s) report explaining why pre-export testing for Manitoba cattle is no longer necessary, a Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) release said yesterday.
The lifting of bovine TB testing is “the last piece of proof (to show) that we’ve done our work since the 1997 discovery of tuberculosis in and around Riding Mountain National Park,” Brian Lemon, MBP’s president, said to Farms.com today.
“It’s the piece we’ve been working for 20 years to get.”
The disease was found in livestock and wildlife in the area, resulting in the establishment of the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA) in 2003. However, Manitoba’s domestic livestock herd has been free from bovine TB for 10 years.
“If you’re in the business of selling breeding animals into the U.S. … this (change) removes an important cost and requirement,” Lemon said.
“This is an opportunity for producers in Manitoba to compete on a level playing field with other producers from other provinces and other states.”
Over the past few years, Manitoba producers have diligently applied special biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the disease from such wildlife as deer and elk, the release said.
MBP collaborated with Parks Canada, Manitoba Sustainable Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Manitoba Agriculture, First Nations and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation to address this disease threat.
Producers and stakeholders in the industry will continue their vigilant efforts to prevent this disease from entering cattle herds again, Lemon added.
Although the USDA has discontinued pre-export testing, some individual American states continue to enforce state-level bovine TB testing requirements, the release said.
So producers should check with proper U.S. authorities before shipping cattle.