Livestock entering Virginia have some new rules to live by.
Richard Wilkes, state veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has announced that beginning August 15, 2012, breeding-age cattle coming into Virginia from other states must be tuberculosis test negative and be properly identified.
Imported cattle over 18 months of age without negative TB test results and proper identification will be quarantined until negative TB tests are conducted and official identification have been applied to each animal and submitted to the VDACS' regional Office of Veterinary Services. Acceptable TB tests include individual animal testing within 60 days prior to entering Virginia, or an annual whole herd test for cattle originating from TB accredited herds.
On January 18, 2012, updated regulations regarding the health requirements for importing animals into Virginia became effective. Bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing on cattle that do not originate from a TB accredited free herd, as well as official individual identification, are now required on all cattle greater than 18 months of age coming into Virginia. Between January and now, VDACS has been educating cattle producers who import breeding-age cattle of the requirement for a TB test and official identification.
Bovine TB was once the most prevalent infectious disease in the U.S. In fact, in the early part of the 20th Century bovine TB caused more losses among U.S. farm animals than all other infectious diseased combined. However, through diligent and cooperative efforts beginning in 1917, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has nearly eradicated bovine TB from the nation's livestock population.
Still, although the disease has nearly been eradicated, within the last several years, TB has been newly diagnosed in at least 10 states that were once considered to be TB free. The new efforts are designed to make sure the disease is kept out of Virginia's livestock. Among other reasons, VDACS says this is critical so that Virginia's ability to market animals as coming from a TB-free state are not jeopardized.