The federal government is offering aid to help Northern Michigan farmers prevent the spread bovine tuberculosis. Typically caused by exposure to infected wild animals, like deer, or through contaminated food or water, bovine TB can be particularly problematic since it can cross the species barrier, a process known as zoonosis. Bovine TB is largely spread through human consumption of infected milk. However, pasteurization kills the TB bacterium and renders even infected milk safe for human consumption.
Earlier last month, officials in California discovered bovine TB in several cows during a routine slaughterhouse inspection. Since California law requires the pasteurization of milk, the discovery poses no threat to humans, but the infected cattle from the herd have been culled and both state and federal officials are continuing inspections of animals from the unnamed farm.
The federal funding in Michigan is due in large part to the efforts of Senator Debbie Stabenow, who was able to direct federal funding to Michigan’s hardest hit cattle growing regions. In order to qualify for federal funds, livestock farmers must complete a wildlife risk mitigation plan. The funding would go towards programs designed to limit contact between wild deer and cattle and to prevent contamination of livestock feed and water supplies.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer