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USDA downgrades New Mexico’s bovine TB status

00:00AM Sep 12, 2008

USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) downgraded New Mexico's Bovine tuberculosis status  from mostly Accredited Free to Modified Accredited Advanced (MAA).

"Where we had a small MAA zone in the Eastern part of our state prior to that decision, our entire state now has MAA status," according to New Mexico Livestock Board Web site. The reclassification is the result of detecting two herds with the disease in eastern New Mexico's accredited-free zone since May 2007, APHIS said in the interim ruling in the Federal Register. "This action is necessary to reduce the likelihood of the spread of tuberculosis in the United States," according to the document said.

New Mexico had been operating under a "split-state" status after the disease was detected in a large, two-herd dairy in 2007. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson joined the state's livestock industry in opposing the loss of the split-state status. Richardson asked USDA Secretary Ed Schafer this week to expand New Mexico's MAA zone in Roosevelt and Curry counties rather than downgrade the whole state.

"We have the resources, statutory authority and capacity to effectively control this problem," noted Richardson.

USDA also is expected to downgrade California's bovine TB status after three herds tested positive for the disease this year. State and federal officials are considering a "split-state" status for  California.
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