Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman signed a declaration of emergency in October authorizing the transfer of $44 million this year to expand the bovine tuberculosis eradication program in the United States. This is an initial payment on what is expected to be a multiyear effort.
"These emergency funds will be used to help curb this disease in the United States," Glickman said. "The spread of the disease in this country could compromise international and domestic trade of US animals and animal products and threaten producers with losses and consumers with price increases."
In July the AABP and cattle and producer organizations wrote a joint letter to the USDA encouraging such an initiative.
Recent scientific tests have identified a substantial bovine tuberculosis threat from infected wildlife, especially free-ranging deer.
In Michigan, eight herds of cattle were infected with tuberculosis, and the US cattle population is being threatened by recurring infections of dairy herds in Texas along the Mexican border.
The USDA-APHIS will expand the bovine tuberculosis eradication program by surveying for bovine tuberculosis in US wildlife and zoos, improving federal diagnostics capabilities and national surveillance, making indemnity payments to farmers for the depopulation of infected and high-risk herds, and establishing identification requirements for animals imported into the United States for feeding and slaughter.
This emergency declaration is effective immediately and is available on the Web at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html