WASHINGTON (B)--Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman has declared bovine tuberculosis an emergency in the United States and is authorizing an additional $44 million for emergency surveys, improved detection methods and payments to farmers with infected or at-risk herds.
"These emergency funds will be used to help curb this disease in the United States," Glickman said in a statement issued to reporters. "The spread of the disease in this country could compromise international and domestic trade of U.S. animals and animal products and threaten producers with losses and consumers with price increases."
USDA says that cattle in Michigan have been infected with bovine tuberculosis, and that "the U.S. cattle population in being threatened" by recurring bovine TB outbreaks in dairy herds in Texas along the Mexican border.
USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the aid will be available immediately to help:
--Detect bovine TB in wildlife and in zoo animals;
--Improve diagnostic tools available to veterinarians;
--Increase compensation payments to farmers who lose animals or must have them destroyed because of bovine TB; and
--Establish bovine TB identification criteria for animals imported into the United States for feeding and slaughter.