New Florida rule shields cattle from Avian flu

Apr 15, 2024


Responding to the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in several states, Florida has introduced Emergency Rule 5CER24-4 to prevent the disease from affecting its livestock. This rule places new restrictions on the importation of cattle into Florida, particularly targeting states where HPAI has been confirmed.

Under the new rule, no cattle exposed to or infected with HPAI can be imported. Restrictions are particularly stringent for lactating dairy cattle from affected states, while non-lactating dairy cattle must come with a recent health certificate. This proactive measure by Commissioner Wilton Simpson underscores Florida’s commitment to protecting its significant agricultural industry, which is vital to both the state’s economy and national food security.

Florida’s Chief State Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Short, pointed out that the state’s primary role as a cattle exporter minimizes the risk of HPAI intrusion. The new rule serves as a critical precaution to maintain the health of the state’s cattle populations and the safety of the agricultural workforce.

The rule is in effect indefinitely, with ongoing evaluations to adjust to new developments in the HPAI situation. The state’s agriculture department is closely monitoring the disease’s progression and will provide necessary updates and guidance to ensure that Florida remains free of HPAI, maintaining the integrity and safety of its vital agricultural sector.

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