USDA removes federal requirement for bovine tuberculosis testing for Manitoba cattle exports

Posted July 3, 2018

WINNIPEG – The removal of a federal United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirement that required breeding cattle and bison from Manitoba be tested for bovine tuberculosis pre-export is welcome news to Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP). This requirement was removed as of July 1, 2018.

“This is a tremendous win for the beef producers of Manitoba. For many years producers in the Riding Mountain Eradication Area have borne a heavy cost in the yearly mustering and surveillance testing of their animals. This USDA decision recognizes the decades of hard work undertaken by MBP and producers on the bovine TB issue and is very good news for our sector, said MBP President Ben E. Fox. “It is a testament to the diligence of the producers in the RMEA, as well as the efforts of many other stakeholders that we have achieved this long sought-after result.”

This USDA decision is a result of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s detailed case outlining why pre-export testing for these Manitoba breeding cattle and bison is no longer required. Bovine tuberculosis had been detected in livestock and wildlife around the Riding Mountain National Park area, resulting in the establishment of the Riding Mountain Eradication Area (RMEA). Herds in Manitoba were subject to surveillance testing, which stressed the animals and placed them at risk for injury. The CFIA recognizes Manitoba’s domestic livestock herd has been free of this disease for several years.

“It is gratifying to see the hard work of the many partners finally rewarded,” said Dr. Allan Preston, Bovine Tuberculosis Coordinator. “Manitoba had its last case of bovine tuberculosis in 2008 – a long ten years later, the USDA has recognized our TB free status and all federal US restrictions on Manitoba breeding stock moving into the US have been lifted. My hat is off especially to the dedicated cattle producers in the Riding Mountain Eradication Area whose efforts have made this TB freedom a reality.”

The presence of bovine TB has also required producers to take special biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of the disease from deer and elk. These measures include barrier fencing to protect feed supplies and the use of livestock guardian dogs. MBP has also worked with many other stakeholders to address this issue, including: Parks Canada, Manitoba Sustainable Development, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Manitoba Agriculture, First Nations and the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. These measures will continue to reduce the risk of interaction with wildlife that could carry bovine TB.

While the USDA pre-export testing requirement has been lifted, individual American states continue to have their own state-level bovine tuberculosis testing requirements. Producers are advised to check with appropriate authorities in the United States prior to shipping their cattle for export.