Letter: Bovine TB management must be quick, coordinated
I am encouraged that Sen. Skoe and others are questioning the actions of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources concerning the problem of bovine TB in northwestern Minnesota. I wrote a letter to the...
I am encouraged that Sen. Skoe and others are questioning the actions of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources concerning the problem of bovine TB in northwestern Minnesota. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Pioneer last year, expressing amazement and worse at the way the situation was being handled. Northern Minnesota livestock producers know that they each have two herds of livestock on their farms. The first is domestic livestock such as beef cattle for which they tend and provide. The second is an unmanaged overpopulation of whitetail deer, and in some cases, elk, which we involuntarily feed, year round, and which can harbor leptospirosis, TB and other problematic organisms.
I know of no microbiology text, which advises, "when a contagious livestock disease outbreak is confirmed, ignore or muddle the problem for 1½ or two years," yet that is what has happened. Science has taken the back seat to politics and failure to act. They jump in to immediately take action against a farmer, all the while ignoring the obvious wild vectors and reservoirs of the TB, playing wimpy political patsy with the surrounding recreational landowners, allowing the TB to disperse for 1½ years before making a feeble, too little and way too late, attempt at eliminating the nearby whitetail deer population.
There should have been DNR and Board of Animal Health personnel looking for new jobs because of this fiasco, but that won't be happening, I'm sure. Most of us livestock producers would be willing to abide by a science-based, sensible TB eradication program, but this situation leaves much to be desired as things stand now, and could drag on indefinitely in the wild animals. Livestock production is a major industry in northern Minnesota, and one of the few remaining industries where the product is not stamped: Made in China.