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Violence impacts spread of cattle fever ticks
As drug cartel violence continues to plague the United States-Mexico border, Texas cattle raisers are concerned about how this issue will impact the Texas cattle herd, specifically the spread of cattle fever ticks along the border.
Due to personnel safety concerns, according to a March 21 Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association press release, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service modified the cattle inspection protocol for Mexican cattle being imported into Texas. This inspection now occurs on Texas soil rather than in Mexico. The activities of livestock border guards, also known as “tick riders,” have also been adjusted to enhance safety.
“The tick riders have patrolled the U.S./ Mexico border since 1906, and played an integral role in the eradication of the cattle fever tick from the United States in 1943,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service Under Secretary Ed Avalos said. “Today, their role remains as important as ever, as they are our nation’s first line of defense against an outbreak of cattle fever.”
Additionally, the Texas Animal Health Inspection Commission officials no longer make inspections in Mexican states along the border. Ranchers were seeing outbreaks beyond the quarantine zone prior to the state budget cuts. Now, with budget cuts inevitable at both the state and federal levels, the risk of widespread re-introduction of the tick in the Southwest is increasing.
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