USDA Lifts Import Restrictions on Canadian Cattle and Bison
WASHINGTON - On June 18, 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has lifted temporary restrictions and additional testing requirements it had placed on the importation of sexually intact bovines (cattle and bison) from British Columbia. Those restrictions were put into place on May 25, 2010, and were based on the importation of three cows from the province found to be reactors for brucellosis upon testing at slaughter.
Effective immediately, APHIS will no longer require brucellosis testing for sexually intact bovines imported to the United States from British Columbia, Canada, for purposes other than immediate slaughter. This action is based on additional technical and epidemiological information received from Canada after a thorough investigation of the disease situation by Canadian authorities.
According to a USDA press release, as part of their investigation, Canada quickly identified the herds of origin; and all animals belonging to those herds over the last year were tested negative for brucellosis or have been otherwise adequately accounted for. No other positive results were found through Canada's tracebacks. APHIS has concluded that the positive results in the original group of reactors may have been due to the presence of cross reactive antibodies detected in the tests used. With the removal of the temporary brucellosis testing requirements, bovines from British Columbia, Canada, may again be imported to the U.S. under the guidelines that applied prior to May 25, 2010.
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that causes decreased milk production, weight loss, infertility, loss of young and lameness in cattle, elk and bison. The disease is contagious and can, though rarely, affect humans. There is no known treatment for brucellosis in animals.