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Animal Health #5

As the world expands to international trade, the potential for transmitting communicable diseases among the agriculture community grows. The uncontrolled spread of disease, intentional or otherwise, could devastate the entire agricultural system. 

We must protect livestock health in Michigan and across the United States. A healthy animal population is critical to the overall wellbeing of the agricultural economy. 

We support: 

  • Appointing a board of animal health to coordinate activities, programs, and regulations to expedite the control and eradication of animal diseases. The board should consist of livestock producers and industry representatives, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University (MSU) College of Veterinary Medicine and USDA. 

  • MDARD basing new regulations or restrictions for livestock exhibition on veterinary and animal science. 

  • Changing the Animals Running At Large Act to define livestock the same as the Animal Industry Act does. 

  • State funding for the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (VDL) to meet the needs of Michigan’s animal population. 

  • Indemnification for livestock depopulated due to disease or when marketing channels are limited or eliminated by the government.

  • Changes to Michigan’s Veterinary Law that expand the services/procedures that veterinary technicians or designated staff with advanced training can perform that help address the rural vet/animal care shortage in Michigan.

  • Requiring continuing education to maintain a Michigan veterinary license. 

  • Amending Michigan’s Veterinary Law to clarify that artificial insemination of livestock and embryo transplant procedures do not have to be performed by a licensed veterinarian. 

  • MSU researching health-related issues impacting Michigan’s livestock industry, including potentially toxic weeds and feedstuffs. 

  • Requiring livestock operation visitors to have permission and conduct proper contamination protections, including clothing and disinfectants, to protect and enhance biosecurity on-site. 

  • Legislative, regulatory and/or management changes that empower the State Veterinarian to collaborate with appropriate authorities to develop a mass carcass disposal plan. 

  • A statewide ban on the sale and use of sky (“Chinese”) lanterns and similar unmanned devices involving open flame that may leave their premises of origin because of the danger of damaging livestock, feed and feed harvesting equipment. 

  • Research on the potential for chronic wasting disease prions to infect livestock feed and other plant materials. 

  • Encouraging Michigan Farm Bureau, MSU, MDARD and USDA to: 

    • Provide sufficient funding and programs for animal health education, disease monitoring, border inspections and disease eradication that protect the livestock industry and ensure market access. 

    • Increase efforts to develop a genetic or live animal diagnostic test for Scrapie and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). 

    • Continue working cooperatively to support the VDL, and minimize its diagnostic fees. 

  • Annual review of the Reportable Disease List in collaboration with industry, MDARD and MDNR to remove inappropriately listed diseases.

  • Livestock producers considering rabies vaccination for all pets, and to learn about the disease. 

  • The development and availability of bait vaccines. 


  • An aggressive cost-effective Johne’s detection and control program, and the ready availability of the Johne’s vaccine to dairy farmers.


MDARD providing adequate staffing to: 

  • Ensure proper monitoring of Michigan’s swine herd to maintain our achieved pseudorabies status. 

  • Support the development and adoption of the U.S. Swine Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) for Michigan’s swine industry.


  • Requiring equine owners to consult with a veterinarian and vaccinate horses, ponies and mules against infectious and contagious diseases. 

  • All fairs, racing events, sale barns, riding stables and other venues where equine may comingle require annual Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA)/Coggins tests for every animal, and mandate those papers be inspected before allowing entry. 

  • MDARD working with animal health officials in other states to develop standardized EIA/Coggins testing guidelines and uniform testing and movement procedures. 

  • Eliminating EIA/Coggins test requirements for horses going to slaughter. 

Animal Identification and Interstate Movement 

  • Swift implementation of a mandatory identification system for Michigan’s livestock and encourage the continued utilization of producer input into its development, implementation, and cost-share where feasible. Producer information shall remain proprietary, not for public use or subject to Freedom of Information Act or any requests. 

  • Slaughter facilities upgrading their technology to provide timely and accurate information on individual cattle.

  • Rules requiring that all cattle and privately-owned Cervidae be electronically identified before leaving the farm. 

  • Violation penalties should be strengthened and enforced by law. In the event an animal loses its tag en route to an auction facility, they should be retagged upon arrival before being allowed to enter. 

  • Electronic reading and recording of all cattle exhibited in Michigan. Records should be sent to MDARD.

  • MDNR, MDARD, USDA, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service working cooperatively to develop regulations to control disease spread including, but not be limited to a system for monitoring live and dead domestic and game animals coming into Michigan.

We oppose importing livestock that does not:

  • Meet import testing requirements deemed appropriate by the director of MDARD, 

  • Have appropriate quarantine protocols in place, 

  • Have an animal identification system for tracking livestock movement to prevent disease spread.

Feed Additives and Medication 

We recognize the need for medication and other additives in livestock feeds. The availability of livestock antibiotics is critical. Limiting or eliminating livestock antibiotic use will negatively impact the industry, both economically and with respect to animal health. Antibiotic use is approved by the Food and Drug Administration only after scientific review and testing. Animal agriculture relies on veterinarians to assist with and oversee animal health. We define veterinarian oversight as a working relationship with a licensed veterinarian. 

We support: 

  • The existing approval process for antibiotic use in farm animals. 

  • Veterinarian oversight of antibiotic use rather than limiting or eliminating these critical animal health and food safety protection tools. 

  • Careful use and withdrawal restrictions of feed additives. 

  • The use of rendered animal protein as additives to swine and poultry rations. 

  • Strict safeguards to prevent cross-contamination of ruminant feeds with ruminant by-products formulating feed additives. 

We oppose: 

  • Banning feed additives without scientific evidence that they threaten animal and human health. 

  • Restrictions limiting or eliminating marketing opportunities for the livestock, dairy, equine, poultry and aquaculture industries and their products without sound scientific justification. 

  • State agency farm inspections without notification to and awareness of the farm owner/operation.

  • Mandatory rabies vaccination for farm cats.

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