Delegation urges USDA to expedite ‘split-state’ status

By QCS Staff

New Mexico’s Congressional delegation is urging the Bush administration to expedite an approval of New Mexico’s application for “split-state” status for bovine tuberculosis (TB), according to a press release.

Ranches and dairies across the state of New Mexico last week were placed under mandatory movement restrictions and testing requirements after a single positive bovine TB case was identified in the state earlier this year.

Such regulations are not only enormously costly to New Mexico’s livestock industry, but they place undue burdens on producers far from the site of the one bovine TB case, the release stated.

U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici, along with Representatives Heather Wilson, Tom Udall and Steve Pearce sent a letter Sept. 16 to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer today asking that he work with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to reinstate New Mexico’s earlier split-state status.

A split-state status would place movement restrictions only on animals within Curry and Roosevelt counties, and would lessen the economic repercussions to New Mexico’s ranchers and dairy producers, the release said.

“The downgrade of New Mexico’s status is estimated to cost our producers more than $4 million per year and could actually impede efforts to eliminate bovine TB as resources are shifted over to operations that pose little or no risk. We urge your office to work closely with APHIS to complete the approval of split-state status as quickly as possible. It is our strong desire that split-state status be approved within 60 days,” the delegation wrote.

New Mexico operated under the “split-state” status from 2005 through last week.