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Michigan bovine TB-positive deer prompt cattle testing

One area includes specific portions of Benzie and Manistee counties, and the other includes portions of Crawford and Otsego counties.

May 20, 2024

2 Min Read
A close-up of a man examining cattle
BOVINE TB TESTING: The designated testing areas help protect animals and public health by ensuring cattle and bison herds have not contracted bovine TB. Photos courtesy of MDARD

Because of the detection of bovine tuberculosis in wild deer from Benzie, Crawford and Otsego counties during the 2023 deer hunting season, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has designated two bovine TB testing areas. All affected producers within these testing areas will be receive letters with details on testing requirements and scheduling.

One area includes specific portions of Benzie and Manistee counties, and the other includes portions of Crawford and Otsego counties. Testing all the cattle and bison herds within these areas will help to protect animal health, public health, and market access for Michigan’s cattle, meat and milk products, MDARD Director Tim Boring says.

“Whenever there is a bovine TB-positive wild deer found outside of the counties where the disease is known to be endemic, it is part of MDARD’s routine response to test all cattle and bison herds within a 10-mile radius of that deer’s location,” state veterinarian Dr. Nora Wineland says. “Completing the testing will help Michigan maintain its split-state status and ensure these animals have not contracted the disease. The testing is just one part of MDARD’s comprehensive Bovine TB Program, which steadily works toward the eradication of the disease.”

Bovine TB is a bacterial disease that can affect all mammals, including humans. Michigan has two zones as part of the National Tuberculosis Eradication Program: the bovine TB-free zone (also called the Accredited Free Zone), which includes 95% of the state, and the Modified Accredited Zone (MAZ), a four-county area in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

As required by MDARD’s memorandum of understanding with USDA and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to maintain this split-state status for bovine TB, a bovine TB testing area must be designated around where TB-positive wild deer are harvested outside of the MAZ.

A young woman holding a calf while a man injects a syringe

Since the testing area for Benzie and Manistee counties was not within Michigan’s existing bovine TB testing area or the counties surrounding this area, Public Act 466 required MDARD to hold a public hearing in that region to explain the proposed testing order and accept comments.

The proposed order and the comments were received and presented to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development during its meeting on May 15, where the order to designate this testing area was approved.

The other testing area for Crawford and Otsego counties did not require the public hearing process because of the zoning order already in place for the counties surrounding the MAZ.

For more information on bovine TB and Michigan’s Bovine TB Program, visit MDARD’s website.

Source: MDARD

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