1. Statement by Secretary Vilsack Regarding USMCA Dispute Settlement Consultations Request on Mexico's Agricultural Biotechnology Measures
Release No. 0120.23
USDA.gov
June 2, 2023

WASHINGTON - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued the following statement regarding today's announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that the United States has requested dispute settlement consultations with Mexico under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). These consultations are in regard to Mexico's agricultural biotechnology policies.

"USDA supports success for all farmers, and that means embracing fair, open, science- and rules-based trade. In this spirit, the USMCA was written to ensure that producers in all three countries have full and fair access to each other's markets," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We fundamentally disagree with the position Mexico has taken on the issue of biotechnology, which has been proven to be safe for decades. Through this action, we are exercising our rights under USMCA while supporting innovation, nutrition security, sustainability, and the mutual success of our farmers and producers."

Today's announcement is the latest action USDA and USTR have taken to address the United States' concerns with Mexico's biotechnology policies. In March, USDA and USTR requested technical consultations with Mexico under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Chapter of the USMCA.

Source:
https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2023/06/02/statement-secretary-vilsack-regarding-usmca-dispute-settlement


2. Equine Piroplasmosis: Is Your Horse at Risk?
Certain groups of U.S. horses are at risk of acquiring this blood- and tick-borne foreign animal disease.
Posted by Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM
TheHorse.com
June 4, 2023

Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is a blood- or tick-borne disease caused by blood parasites Theileria equi or Babesia caballi. Clinical signs in the acute phase of infection can include fever, inappetence, depression, elevated respiratory and heart rates, colic, anemia, and sudden death. If the horse survives acute disease, he becomes a chronic carrier of the parasite and can serve as a lifelong transmission risk to other horses. Clinical signs in a chronically infected horse can include anemia, weight loss, and reduced performance, but most chronic carriers appear outwardly normal.

While EP is considered endemic in many countries, and certain tick species around the world can actively transmit T. equi or B. caballi while feeding on horses, the U.S. mainland is currently free of natural tick-borne transmission of EP, and the disease is officially classified as a foreign animal disease. Equids imported to the U.S. from other countries must test negative for both T. equi and B. caballi at entry to prevent incursion of the disease. Veterinarians who suspect EP in a horse are required to report the possible case to state and federal animal health officials.

vet pulling blood for test

Equine piroplasmosis (EP) is a blood- or tick-borne disease caused by blood parasites Theileria equi or Babesia caballi. Clinical signs in the acute phase of infection can include fever, inappetence, depression, elevated respiratory and heart rates, colic, anemia, and sudden death. If the horse survives acute disease, he becomes a chronic carrier of the parasite and can serve as a lifelong transmission risk to other horses. Clinical signs in a chronically infected horse can include anemia, weight loss, and reduced performance, but most chronic carriers appear outwardly normal.

While EP is considered endemic in many countries, and certain tick species around the world can actively transmit T. equi or B. caballi while feeding on horses, the U.S. mainland is currently free of natural tick-borne transmission of EP, and the disease is officially classified as a foreign animal disease. Equids imported to the U.S. from other countries must test negative for both T. equi and B. caballi at entry to prevent incursion of the disease. Veterinarians who suspect EP in a horse are required to report the possible case to state and federal animal health officials.

So, if EP is supposed to be a foreign disease, why are we talking about it? Every year since 2008, veterinarians have identified cases of EP in the U.S. in specific high-risk groups of horses. The largest high-risk group includes current and former Quarter Horse racehorses. In this population some owners and trainers have spread the disease among horses by direct blood transmission through unhygienic practices. These practices (called iatrogenic transmission) include reusing needles, syringes, and intravenous tubing among horses, administering illegal blood products from other countries, giving direct blood transfusions to increase athletic performance (blood doping), and administering multidose drug products that have become blood-contaminated by nonsterile handling techniques between horses.

Full text: https://thehorse.com/1111613/equine-piroplasmosis-is-your-horse-at-risk/


3. Wildlife health lab tests more than 6,000 CWD samples in 2022 [WY - edited]
Wyoming Game and Fish Dept.
June 5, 2023

Laramie - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Wildlife Health Laboratory tested 6,701 samples from big game animals for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in 2022. Testing was completed earlier this year and samples were submitted from throughout the state. CWD was not detected in 5,875 samples and 826 samples were positive. Some samples submitted were not testable.

Jessica Jennings-Gaines, Game and Fish wildlife disease specialist, said those numbers are based on submissions from hunters, road-killed animals and animals found dead or in poor condition.

The number of tested samples and positive tests have remained steady for the past three years. In 2021, 6,884 samples were tested with 839 positives and in 2020, 6,496 samples were tested with 829 positives.

However, Jennings-Gaines noted that comparing the number of positive tests each year can be misleading because Game and Fish's CWD surveillance program focuses on different deer and elk herd units each year. Additionally, the number of positives is proportional to the prevalence of CWD in the particular herd unit surveyed.

"We can say that the prevalence of CWD is slowly increasing in many deer and elk herd units in the state," Jennings-Gaines said. "The western half of Wyoming has several deer hunt areas where CWD has not been detected, however the disease continues to spread west and was detected in two new deer and five new elk hunt areas last year."

Full text: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/News/Wildlife-health-lab-tests-more-than-6,000-CWD-samp


4. Different cows react to disease differently
By Victor E. Cabera, Afshin Kalantari, And Taliah Danzinger
Koard's Dairyman
June 2, 2023

Disease can have a significant impact on both dairy cattle welfare and the financial success of the entire dairy industry. This, in turn, impacts sustainability. Not only do diseases lead to reduced productivity and higher treatment costs, but they can also harm the public perception of the industry as a whole.

This is why monitoring and understanding disease incidence in dairy cattle is crucial for improving herd health, productivity, and profitability. Through monitoring and benchmarking disease incidences, dairy farmers and industry professionals can gain valuable insights into the health of their herd compared to the larger population and make informed decisions about management practices that support healthier cows.

A six-pack focus

We studied the incidence of six diseases: mastitis, lameness, ketosis, metritis, retained placenta, and milk fever. We did this by looking at daily historical health reports in the Dairy Herd Information (DHI) test records contained in the AgSource database from a two-year span between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021.

The data pertain to Wisconsin herds self-reporting disease cases. The incidence was determined by the number of disease cases reported in the health records divided by all lactating active cows on the same day reported in the production records.

Full text: https://hoards.com/article-33726-different-cows-react-to-disease-differently.html


5. Purdue's Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to Hire More Staff, Make Upgrades Following Increase in State Funding [IN]
By C.J. Miller
Hoosier Ag Today
June 2, 2023

Last April, Indiana lawmakers approved an increase in funding in the state's two-year budget specifically for the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ADDL) with Purdue University.

"I cannot find the words to express my level of appreciation for all the groups and individuals who advocated for the ADDL at the State House this Spring," says Dr. Kenitra Hendrix, Director of the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

The new two-year state budget that passed during the 2023 Indiana General Assembly increases the laboratory's annual appropriation to $5 million per fiscal year, which represents an increase of $1,288,439 per fiscal year.

She says the funding was greatly needed to hire more staff.

Full text: https://hoosieragtoday.news/purdue-addl-increase-state-funding/


6. Task force looking for solutions to Kentucky's large-animal veterinarian shortage starts its work
NKYTribune.com
Jun 3, 2023

A task force charged with finding solutions to Kentucky's large-animal veterinarian shortage met in Frankfort this week at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

"This shortage of large animal veterinarians is not just a Kentucky issue, it's something we're facing nationwide," Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. "But in Kentucky, we're one of the few states who are facing the challenge head on by creating this task force to look for solutions. The shortage of veterinarians to treat our agricultural animals is affecting farmers and may soon begin affecting our food supply. This working group brings together the brightest agriculture minds to find solutions to the issues at hand and improve the services farmers need."

Nationwide, a shortage of large animal veterinarians is creating a negative impact as farmers search to find the veterinary care they need for their animals. Large animal veterinarians are essential to the protection of the nation's food supply. Only 5 percent of veterinarians in the U.S. practice on large animals. The other 95 percent have turned to companion animal practices, research, or regulatory. In Kentucky, large animal veterinarians make up an even smaller percentage. Only about 3 percent of veterinarians in the state have dedicated large animal practices.

The Veterinary Shortage Working Group consists of industry stakeholders, including veterinarians, individuals in the educational and medical agricultural field, various livestock associations representatives, the Kentucky Farm Bureau, Kentucky Higher Education Assistant Authority, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Full text: https://www.nkytribune.com/2023/06/task-force-looking-for-solutions-to-kentuckys-large-animal-veterinarian-shortage-starts-its-work/