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Changes announced for sale of adult cattle in Texas
AUSTIN -- Effective Aug. 1, the Texas Animal Health Commission will no longer require brucellosis testing of adult cattle for change of ownership. According to a July 29 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) news release, the Texas Animal Health Commission will also cease to pay the $2-per-head supplement to markets for the testing. Approximately half of the markets have indicated, however, that they intend to continue testing all or some of the adult cattle sold through their markets. For markets wishing to test, they will still be able to receive all the supplies currently being provided at no charge, including the brucellosis card test kits. The Texas Animal Health Commission inspectors will also be able to run the supplemental testing as usual, if a card positive animal is disclosed. The animal health commission officials strongly encourage voluntary testing of Texas cattle to remain vigilant in keeping Texas brucellosis-free.
It is imperative to remember that brucellosis was found in two cattle herds in Texas earlier this year. Approximately 25 card positive (usually false positive) animals per month are detected throughout Texas markets. The secondary test run by animal health commission inspectors at markets will usually clear those consignments for sale unrestricted, and only require the card positive animal to be held up.
A separate issue regarding the identification of cattle is also under discussion. Historically all Texas cattle leaving a market have had a USDA eartag in place because they were brucellosis-tested there. The official identification of cattle (usually with a metal eartag) is not completely linked to brucellosis testing, however. The Texas Animal Health Commission and the USDA rules require official identification on all cattle tested, but they also require the market to record existing official identifications on any adult cattle presented for sale, all dairy cattle prior to movement, any bulls involved with the trichomoniasis program (including virgins), and Mexican-origin event cattle.
It is anticipated that the Texas Animal Health Commission will consider a rule proposal in September that may require permanent official identification of adult cattle sold at Texas markets. A rule for comments that will eventually require cattle moving interstate to have permanent official identification has been released by the USDA. (See article, above right.)
“I am asking all markets for voluntary compliance to continue eartagging adult cattle (or reading existing tags) sold through their markets for the next few months, while the rule making process is in progress,” said Dr. Dee Ellis, state veterinarian. Local Texas Animal Health Commission regional offices and inspectors will work with individual markets on possible exceptions for extremely weak or old cattle presented for sale in the meantime.
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