During a Commission meeting on May 13, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) adopted several proposed amendments to the state’s animal-health regulations, including several changes regarding trichomoniasis (trich) testing, herd certification and entry requirements for cattle.
For trich testing and herd certification, the TAHC adopted four proposed amendments, which are open to public comment through July 7. The proposed amendments would:
- Add testing requirements for a herd of origin when a bull from the herd is sold and subsequently found to be infected with Trich.
- Require testing when a bull is separated from its unit of origin, such as when a bull is found on property not owned by the owner/caretaker of the bull (stray), and that bull is found to be infected with Trich. Under the proposal, the pasture (unit) of origin, and pasture where the stray Trich bull was located will both be placed under hold order, and any additional bulls located there must be tested for Trich.
- Allow TAHC to evaluate the effectiveness of a herd control plan for an infected herd leading to the possible continuation or disapproval of the herd plan based on the progress or lack of progress made in controlling the disease within the herd.
- Require herds enrolled in the Trich Herd Certification Program to have perimeter fences that are adequate to prevent the ingress or egress of cattle.
TAHC also proposed a new rule relating to entry requirements for cattle. The proposed amendment will clarify the bovine trich entry requirements and testing exemptions. The proposal adds new testing exemptions for out of state bulls enrolled in a Texas bull test station trial and for out of state bulls originating from approved Certified Trich Free Herd programs. A detailed explanation of the rule proposal will be available on Friday, June 20, 2014, on the TAHC website. A public comment period will begin at that time, with a deadline of July 21.
Trich can cause significant losses in cow-calf herds through reduced calving rates, and animal-health officials in Texas and elsewhere are working to reduce the risk of introducing infected animals to herds while still allowing movement of seedstock and other cattle. During a national forum on trichomoniasis standards, co-hosted by the National Institute of Animal Agriculture and the U.S. Animal Health Association in April, Texas A&M University economist David Anderson, PhD, outlined his estimates of the potential economic impact of trich in Texas cattle herds. Anderson worked with university veterinarians to develop a set of assumptions and calculate the annual losses across the Texas cow-calf sector attributable to trich. He estimates that 20 percent of the 150,000 beef herds in Texas have some degree of trich infection in any year. Based on research, he used an average calving rate of 85 percent for the 80 percent of herds that do not have trich and a 73 percent calving rate for herds that do have it.