Wisconsin will continue its strict testing requirements for cattle, goats and bison imported from states where tuberculosis has been found, the State Veterinarian says. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has modified requirements for moving cattle from those states, but states have the option of keeping tighter testing procedures.
"We are sandwiched between two states with tuberculosis – Michigan and Minnesota – and we have a $26 billion dairy industry to protect, along with our beef, goat and bison producers," said Dr. Robert Ehlenfeldt. "We are not going to let down our guard."
The State Veterinarian's office will also continue the policy of prohibiting Wisconsin animals to return to the state if they are taken to shows and sales in Minnesota and Michigan that do not meet our testing requirements.
Anyone importing animals that are susceptible to TB – cattle, bison and goats – or taking these animals to shows and sales in Minnesota and Michigan needs to check requirements first by visiting www.datcp.state.wi.us, search term "import" or calling 608-224-4874 weekdays.
"We've recently had to quarantine and test a cow that a high-schooler took to a Minnesota show that was advertised as being open to animals from surrounding states," Ehlenfeldt said. "The problem was that the show was also open to all Minnesota cattle, whether they came from TB areas of the state or not, and regardless of whether they'd been tested for TB."
Until now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture restricted movement and imposed testing obligations on all cattle from states that are trying to eradicate TB from their herds. These requirements applied even if the cattle in question were not from affected herds. The new order, issued April 15, applies the strict requirements only to cattle from infected herds. States may enact more stringent requirements than federal standards for cattle entering their borders from states where the disease exists.
Wisconsin imposes TB testing requirements for individual cattle, goats and bison imported to Wisconsin from Michigan and Minnesota, and for the herds where those animals originate. Minnesota animals can go directly to an approved feedlot or to slaughter without testing.
Wisconsin animals taken to shows in Minnesota and Michigan will face penalties if they return to Wisconsin, unless the shows require that animals from those states meet Wisconsin's test requirements. These animals will need to be tested and quarantined for 60 days, or sent to slaughter.
Wisconsin also has varying TB test requirements for other states with TB, depending on the level of infection in those states. However, Wisconsin producers feel the effects more from Michigan and Minnesota because of their proximity for trade and exhibitions.
Wisconsin has been TB-free since 1986.