New Mexico has lost its bovine tuberculosis-free status. The USDA downgraded the state’s status because two herds tested positive in New Mexico’s accredited free-zone since May 2007. The USDA says downgrading New Mexico is necessary to reduce the likelihood of the spread of bovine tuberculosis within the United States.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, the downgrade could cost more than $4 million a year. The New Mexico Livestock Board has asked the USDA to reconsider the ruling.

New Mexico has a shortage of large animal veterinarians, with only 11 located in seven counties that do food-animal work. This shortage is expected to make testing difficult.

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