USDA modifies requirements for imported Mexican cattle
Endemic cattle disease such as tuberculosis and brucellosis in some parts of Mexico have forced US officials to adopt new requirements for imported cattle from the neighbouring country, according to Drovers magazine.
Currently, cattle imported from Mexico carry at least two forms of identification, generally a brand and an approved ear tag. For feeder cattle, the requirements have specified that steers are branded with an “M,” while “Mx” designates spayed heifers. An “MX” brand or tattoo identifies breeding bovines imported from Mexico.
The new rule will simplify the brands to a simple “M,” while increasing the size of the brand and moving the brands for sexually intact bovines to the right shoulder of the animal. Under the new rule, the brands must be between 3 inches and 5 inches high and wide. For feeder cattle, the “M” mark must be applied to each animal's right hip, with the top of the brand within 4 inches of the midline of the tailhead above the hook and pin bones. The brand should also be within 18 inches of the anus.
An “MX” ear tattoo remains an option for breeder cattle instead of a brand since they have not caused a readability problem and are considered a permanent form of identification.
According to APHIS, the changes will simplify the branding process while helping reduce or eliminate branding errors, rebranding and cattle rejections at port-of-entry inspection.
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