Governor Engler Announces TB Plan, Including New Animal Health Diagnostic Lab (Governor's Press Release)
In order to combat bovine tuberculosis (TB) in Michigan, Governor John Engler today announced a comprehensive plan that provides increased funding for statewide eradication and surveillance efforts, including the construction of a new Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory at Michigan State University.
"The path to eradicating bovine TB is increasingly complex, yet we remain committed to eliminating this disease from Michigan livestock and wildlife," Engler said. "With the discovery of TB-positive deer outside Northeast Michigan, it is imperative that Michiganís TB eradication strategy be expanded. To step up our efforts, I am proposing the construction of a state-of-the-art Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory."
"I am also proposing a three-year, $20 million funding package to support statewide TB surveillance and eradication activities by the Michigan Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Community Health," Engler said.
The Governorís proposal calls for $14.5 million to support TB activities at the Michigan Department of Agriculture; $4.5 million for the Department of Natural Resources, and $749,000 for Department of Community Health programs, according to Bob Bender, Statewide Bovine TB Eradication Coordinator.
"Adequate funding of bovine TB activities continues to be a priority of this Administration," said State Budget Director Mary Lannoye. "We are fully committed to obtaining the funds needed to ensure the agencies can implement the elements of the eradication strategy successfully. We propose the laboratory be fully funded, so that construction can begin as soon as possible."
The State of Michigan currently utilizes the MSU Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, which was built in East Lansing during the 1970s. All types of testing at the facility have increased more than 60 percent since 1990, and the current volume of TB testing of deer and cattle has seriously taxed the facility. The new laboratory, which will cost $40-45 million, will provide increased analytical capabilities necessary to target bovine TB and other animal health diagnostic needs in the state.
"As we implement the strategy to increase testing of livestock and wildlife for bovine TB, we know the current diagnostic laboratory will quickly become a limiting factor," said MDA Director Dan Wyant. "The new lab will ensure that appropriate diagnostic information is available to safeguard the future of Michiganís livestock industry."
The presence of bovine TB in Michiganís deer herd is of great concern to sports persons, farmers and Michigan residents. The DNR has aggressively instituted a statistically valid county-by-county surveillance program to determine the prevalence in wildlife throughout the state.
"In the 1999 hunting season, the Department of Natural Resources analyzed more than 19,000 hunter-harvested deer from all 83 counties in Michigan for bovine TB," said DNR Director K. Cool. "We anticipate increasing that figure to 25,000 to 30,000 in the future, and will also engage in an aggressive statewide public information campaign on the issue."
Engler called upon Michiganís congressional delegation to support additional federal resources that are needed to support specific research, increase testing and address information needs to accomplish the eradication goal in Michigan.