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USDA lifts bovine TB testing requirement for Manitoba cattle exports

Report: Province’s domestic livestock has been free of the disease since 2008

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Photo © BigStockPhoto.com
Photo © BigStockPhoto.com

Breeding cattle and bison shipped to the United States from Manitoba, Canada, no longer require pre-export bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP), a nonprofit organization representing the province’s beef industry, this is welcome news.

“For many years, producers in the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA) have borne a heavy cost in the yearly mustering and surveillance testing of their animals,” said MBP president, Ben E. Fox.

“This USDA decision recognizes the decades of hard work undertaken by MBP and producers on the bovine TB issue and is very good news for our sector. It is a testament to the diligence of the producers in RMEA, as well as the efforts of many other stakeholders, that we have achieved this long sought-after result.”

The USDA’s decision stems from a report released by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) that found Manitoba’s domestic livestock herd has been free of the disease since 2008. Earlier this year, CFIA removed all quarantines from farms with cattle in Manitoba, as well as the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Testing was introduced in 1997 after livestock and wildlife around the province’s Riding Mountain National Park area tested positive for bovine TB. The discovery led to the establishment of RMEA, where herds of cattle and bison underwent surveillance testing.

The presence of bovine TB also required producers to take biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the disease from deer and elk, including barrier fencing to protect feed supplies and the use of livestock guardian dogs.

While the USDA requirement has been lifted, individual American states continue to have state-level bovine TB testing requirements. Beef producers are advised to check with appropriate authorities in the United States prior to shipping cattle for export.

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