ANIMAL HEALTH COMMITTEE
Brian McDonald, Chairman
Scott Katus, Vice Chairman
23-Resolution passed in 2023
22-Resolution passed in 2022
21-Resolution passed in 2021
AVAILABILITY OF FOOD-ANIMAL VETERINARIAN GRADUATES - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, there is a significant shortfall in the number of food-animal veterinarian graduates to service the livestock production areas of the United States; and
WHEREAS, livestock producers rely on their local veterinarians for guidance to ensure food product safety, herd management and disease control; and
WHEREAS, animal welfare issues and the increasing public scrutiny of humane care and management of livestock are closely related to emergency veterinary attention; and
WHEREAS, the physical nature of the work, as well as accrued indebtedness, tends to divert many capable graduate veterinarians away from food-animal practice; and
WHEREAS, the increased complexity of pharmaceutical and biological product use requires veterinarian supervision; and
WHEREAS, because veterinarian practice can involve long travel distances and extended absence from clinics in rural areas, a demand for multi-veterinarian-staffed clinics is created.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages colleges of veterinary medicine to vigorously pursue recruiting and training students with the aptitude and desire to fill the increasing void of food-animal veterinarians.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that even though the NDSA recognizes the importance of scholastic excellence, it also recommends an attempt be made to identify a process of recruitment that selects individuals with skills and physical capabilities in addition to academics.
BANGS TATTOOS - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, Brucellosis (bangs) has been and could still be a debilitating disease for the U.S. beef herd; and
WHEREAS, implementation of bangs vaccination has significantly reduced and effectively controlled this disease in beef cattle in the United States; and
WHEREAS, the bangs tattoo has been an integral tool to identify vaccinated animals for intrastate and interstate commerce, as well as in animal disease traceability; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is contemplating eliminating the bangs tattoo requirement.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any action taken by USDA or another agency to sunset the bangs tattoo; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA assists the North Dakota Board of Animal Health to ensure the bangs tattoo remains part of the Brucellosis vaccination protocol.
CATTLEMEN’S STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLE - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, cattlemen believe in humane treatment of livestock and good stewardship of natural resources; and
WHEREAS, this message needs to be communicated to the public; and
WHEREAS, the public is entitled to credible statements from actual producers regarding the practices, intents and purposes of livestock production.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA endorses the principles of good animal husbandry, responsible environmental stewardship and food safety and continues to communicate this on an ongoing basis.
PROFESSIONAL STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, the Professional Student Exchange Program is dependent on the Board of Higher Education for funding; and
WHEREAS, there continues to be more students applying for veterinary school loans with less funding available.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the Professional Student Exchange Program and encourages the Board of Higher Education to continue its support with adequate funding or to consider an alternate program of equal benefit.
PROTECTION FROM FOREIGN ANIMAL DISEASES - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, protecting the U.S. cattle industry is a major priority for the NDSA; and
WHEREAS, foreign animal diseases could cause a widespread quarantine and possible massive depopulation of the U.S. cattle herd, thus compromising national security and jeopardizing the U.S. beef supply; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for regulating the importation of live cattle, beef and beef products from foreign countries into the United States; and
WHEREAS, it is imperative that USDA inspection of live cattle, beef, beef products and related animal products be effective and of the highest quality to ensure the health and economic success of the U.S. cattle industry; and
WHEREAS, some foreign countries with significant chronic animal diseases, such as foot-and-mouth disease, have petitioned the USDA to import live cattle, beef and/or beef products into the United States; and
WHEREAS, the USDA’s ability to accurately evaluate the risk of animal diseases in these foreign countries can be uncertain and inconclusive.
THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the importation of live cattle, beef and/or beef products into the United States from foreign countries with significant chronic animal diseases and lack of strict animal disease control and eradication measures.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports independent, transparent, scientific, legal and economic analyses of USDA proposals, risk assessments and supporting information with full access by stakeholders to substantiate risk levels of imported live cattle, beef and/or beef products and assure the protection of the U.S. cattle industry.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA urges USDA to include U.S. cattle industry stakeholders in any negotiations with foreign countries relating to efforts that may affect the health of the U.S. cattle industry and provide the U.S. cattle industry opportunities to comment on new procedures for developing risk analyses for any foreign country wishing to export live cattle, beef and/or beef products into the United States.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, USDA protocols be substantiated by sound, scientific evidence and that animal-health-related regulations are to be used for animal disease control, not as non-tariff trade barriers.
VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, animal disease surveillance diagnosis is an important part of good management and herd health for North Dakota beef cattle producers; and
WHEREAS, the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory plays a critical role in disease surveillance and diagnosis for North Dakota beef cattle producers.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports efforts to develop a plan to support increased funding to develop new programs, support staff and technology needs and to solicit the support of allied stakeholders to support future needs of the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
VET SCHOOL LOANS - 23 (AH)
WHEREAS, there is a growing shortage of food-animal/large-animal veterinarians in North Dakota; and
WHEREAS, North Dakota does not have a school of veterinary medicine and must rely upon other states to provide veterinary education to North Dakota students; and
WHEREAS, tuition to schools of veterinary medicine is extremely expensive and the revenue that can be generated in a food-animal/large-animal practice in a rural area is generally much less than what could be expected in a metropolitan, small-animal setting.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages the State of North Dakota and Board of Higher Education to provide greater incentive through various programs to provide more funding for veterinary school loans to North Dakota students and tuition reimbursement upon returning to the state to practice in food-animal/large-animal clinics.
ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY - 22 (AH)
WHEREAS, the NDSA recognizes that protecting the health of North Dakota’s beef cattle herd now and in the future will be important in maintaining strong domestic and international markets; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA understands that accurate and efficient disease detection and control are part of protecting the health and viability of the cattle industry; and
WHEREAS, a proposed change to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rules is anticipated; and
WHEREAS, producers’ questions about the ADT program relate to the cost to grassroots cattle producers and auction markets, the technology that will be required, the confidentiality of producer information and the ability of electronic tagging systems to perform in North Dakota’s extreme weather conditions and at the speed of commerce; and
WHEREAS, program changes could impose extra cost and labor on cattle producers and have other negative economic ramifications if not rolled out appropriately.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA provides comments, insisting that the industry’s cost, technology, confidentiality and performance concerns be addressed, and that APHIS continues to use existing identification systems, such as brand inspection records and other existing tools, as the foundation for its traceability system.
ELK - 22 (AH)
WHEREAS, elk are large, grazing animals, comparable to cattle and horses, and can be destructive to fences, growing crops and stored feed supplies; and
WHEREAS, elk are known possible carriers of brucellosis and other infectious diseases to both domestic elk and livestock; and
WHEREAS, over the years, elk have been introduced into North Dakota by releasing them into Theodore Roosevelt National Park and some tribal lands; and
WHEREAS, some of the elk herds have overpopulated their range and escaped onto private land; and
WHEREAS, the descendants of those escaped elk have also contributed to livestock producers’ problems.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the release of any wild elk onto federal, state or private lands in North Dakota and supports all appropriate actions being taken to prevent their escape, overproduction or release.
TERRORISM - 22 (AH)
WHEREAS, intentional destructive elements have tremendous and terminal impacts on life and business; and
WHEREAS, those who are involved in such acts need to be held accountable.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, any malicious acts of biological, chemical, nuclear and/or any other comparable act against agriculture be considered a felony act, and laws be enacted on both state and federal levels to reflect the seriousness of such acts and provide for the appropriate punishment.
VETERINARY TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM - 22 (AH)
WHEREAS, veterinary technicians provide important and vital animal care for North Dakota livestock producers.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports increased funding for facilities, equipment and operation of this program.
WILDLIFE DEPREDATION - 22 (AH)
BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and all other wildlife agencies to resolve excessive problems of depredation when appropriate.
BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, bovine tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious and transmissible disease; and
WHEREAS, a federal TB eradication program is in place; and
WHEREAS, cattle-producing states all implement the program in a different manner; and
WHEREAS, interstate commerce is an essential part of cattle marketing for North Dakota ranchers; and
WHEREAS, the current rule requires all potential breeding stock have the Animal Disease Traceability tag before entering the state of North Dakota, which is not consistent with other states’ regulations and causes extra stress to the cattle and a financial burden to producers.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages and assists the North Dakota Board of Animal Health to refine the current TB program to more adequately assess the risk and needs of producers in regards to the testing and transportation of exposed animals.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA recommends that the federal TB eradication program compensates producers for direct expenses related to the handling and testing of exposed animals.
DISEASE ERADICATION - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) has implied there is a lack of federal funding to continue the national tuberculosis (TB) and brucellosis eradication programs that have been successful for several decades; and
WHEREAS, the continued prevalence of TB and brucellosis in the United States in both domestic livestock and wildlife poses a significant public health and animal health risk.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA requests that USDA-APHIS continue to fund eradication and indemnification programs for TB and brucellosis.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that industry and state animal health officials fully participate in the structure of any new program or changes to the current program and that any program changes allow states to retain the authority to implement testing requirements to protect their livestock and wildlife populations.
DISEASE SURVEILLANCE - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, an awareness, surveillance and responsive communication program is essential as a first-line of defense for all foreign animal diseases, brucellosis and tuberculosis.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA strongly urges that animal disease surveillance and responsiveness should receive the highest priority by both federal and state animal health agencies and personnel. Emergency procedures for assuring maximum cooperation between federal and state agencies should be clearly and expeditiously established.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA urges increased emphasis by the organizers of programs for continuing education of veterinarians, producers, agribusiness personnel and law enforcement agencies by including coverage of foreign animal diseases and the potential threat to domestic livestock.
JOHNE’S DISEASE PROGRAM - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, the Board of Animal Health has implemented a program to assist producers in testing and identifying Johne’s-positive cattle in their herds; and
WHEREAS, funds are made available to producers who implement the Johne’s program; and
WHEREAS, under existing guidelines, there is a requirement that animals that test positive to an antigen-detection test when they are sold go directly to slaughter with no chance of re-entering another producer’s herd.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA’s continued support of the Johne’s program be contingent on safeguards being put into place that give assurance that producers receiving government funds for this program are responsible for these animals going to slaughter.
VET SCHOOL FUNDING - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, a shortage of large-animal veterinarians in many rural areas is a problem; and
WHEREAS, North Dakota is home to many skilled and talented students who would like to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, but it does not have a veterinary school within its borders; and
WHEREAS, North Dakota has been successful in negotiating agreements with several colleges of veterinary medicine to enhance the opportunity to send North Dakota students to vet school, which, in turn, helps increase the chance of them returning to practice in the state and servicing the livestock industry.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA continues to support funding for up to five North Dakota student slots per year at Kansas State University, as well as the additional slots available in the veterinary education programs at the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University and Western-Interstate-Commission-for-Higher-Education-participating universities.
WINTER GRAZING - 21 (AH)
WHEREAS, the NDSA supports humane and practical handling of livestock; and
WHEREAS, many citizens in North Dakota are misinformed of the practice of winter grazing of cattle and horses.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works with the Agricultural Research Services facility in Mandan, the North Dakota State University Extension, the North Dakota State University Animal Science Department, North Dakota law enforcement agencies, the North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association and the North Dakota Board of Animal Health to educate ag media, mainstream media and the public that winter grazing of cattle and horses, when done properly, is a time-proven, humane, economical and practical management choice.