Proposals To Manage Bovine TB

US - The US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA - APHIS) is proposing new rules for managing bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in the US.
calendar icon 3 December 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Dr Susan Keller, North Dakota state veterinarian, said members of her staff attended a national meeting about the current bovine TB national programme in Denver, Colorado. They also heard more on the proposed USDA TB action plan there.

Dr Keller and her staff - along with state veterinarians and beef and dairy experts throughout the country - have several concerns about the plan because no details have been released about how it would be implemented.

One of the main concerns is that livestock and dairy producers may not be aware how these proposed rules would affect them - including whether money would be available if they had to eradicate their herd because of a TB outbreak.

Under the new rules, the current state TB status system to address risk would be eliminated and replaced with a nationwide zoning approach. For example, currently North Dakota is considered TB free, while Minnesota has split-state status.

Dr John Clifford, deputy administrator of Veterinary Services at USDA-APHIS, said that due to federal budget deficits which he expected to continue, federal funds for the TB programme would stay at the same level or decrease in the future.

Dr Clifford said there would probably be no emergency funds available for TB efforts in the future. Since 2001, some $207 million of emergency funding has helped with the TB programme in the US. These funds were used for TB investigation, control and eradication efforts after APHIS exceeded its budget for the year.

Because of a lack of future emergency funds, USDA is looking at more of a collaborative effort with states and livestock organisations.

According to the action plan , the proposals would:

  • Reduce the introduction of TB into the US national herd.
  • Enhance TB surveillance.
  • Increase options for managing TB-affected herds.
  • Modernise regulations to allow USDA Veterinary Services to put resources where the disease exists.
  • Transition the TB programme from a state classification system to a science-based zoning approach to address disease risk.

Further Reading

- You can view the proposed action plan by clicking here.

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