"Stock covered by the breeding cattle testing and identification requirement include weaned heifers, bred heifers, cows and bulls intended for breeding purposes," explained Dr. Max Coats, assistant executive director for the Texas Animal Health Commission, the state's livestock health regulatory agency.
has delayed until Jan. 1, 2003, additional restrictions on moving feeder cattle out of the state.
Feeder animals include steers, bull calves and heifers destined for grazing and feeding for slaughter.
"We've worked to prepare Texas cattle producers for the impact of this regulation change for several months and have conferred frequently with related industry associations.
Brochures outlining the changes in the testing requirements can be obtained from the TAHC
at no charge," Coats
This new federal regulation will require ranchers to plan ahead before selling or moving their breeding cattle out of state, he
"Ranchers may find their breeding cattle to be more marketable if the animals are tested prior to arrival at the livestock market," he
"Untested breeding cattle and bison will be restricted to movement only within the state or directly to a slaughter plant, unless a buyer makes arrangement to have the animals held and tested after the sale.
Ranchers will be responsible for paying their USDA
accredited, private veterinary practitioners for testing.
Conducting a TB skin test To conduct a TB skin test, an accredited veterinarian injects a tiny amount of tuberculin into the animal's skin near its tail, in an area called the caudal fold.
After a 72-hour waiting period, Coats said the veterinarian examines the site for swelling that might indicate the animal has been exposed to cattle TB.
If there is no response, the accredited veterinarian can issue a document as proof of testing, recording on it the test results and the animal's official identification -- either a brucellosis ear tag, or for purebred cattle, a firebrand or tattoo registered with the breed.
"About 1 percent of the caudal fold tests will be positive, and this is expected, as there can be false-positive test results, Coats
"If this occurs, a state or federal veterinarian must run a second test within 10 days.
This comparative cervical test, run on the animal's neck, also requires a 72-hour waiting period, and if it is negative, the animal can move freely.
"A positive test, however, is strong indication the animal may have cattle TB, and it must be slaughtered and carefully examined for internal TB lesions.
"Tissue samples will be collected and forwarded to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for laboratory confirmation.
There are three exceptions to the TB testing requirements for breeding cattle moving across state lines, said Coats, who heads up TAHC's field operations and animal health programs.
"Nursing calves can move without a test, if they accompany their TB-tested dam," he
"Cattle going directly to a slaughter plant from a farm or livestock market don't need a test.
Ranchers also can move animals freely from a TB accredited-free herd, a status gained through annual herd testing.
advised producers to call the TAHC
at 800/550-8242 for information about the TB accreditation program.
"We are working with the USDA
, states that receive our cattle, and the livestock industry to develop a plan for adequately identifying feeder steers and spayed heifers moving out of Texas on or after Jan. 1, 2003," Coats