Texas Congressman helps secure funding to fight deadly tick disease

WASHINGTON (GrayDC) The cattle industry is getting a boost to fight a deadly disease. A Texas lawmaker has secured funding to help scientists stop cattle ticks in their tracks.

“Cattle that are infected with cattle fever typically die,” said Colin Woodall, the SVP of Government Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

Cattle tick fever is threatening an $80 billion dollar a year business. The disease is centralized along the Texas-Mexico border, but infestations are becoming more common in Texas. Colin Woodall with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says it continues to spread.

“It could cause some catastrophic losses to us as an industry,” said Woodall.

Woodall hopes the disease will soon be stomped out thanks to more federal funding. Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX) secured $5 million for research and tools to get rid of the cattle fever tick itself…and another $1 million to find ways to treat sick cattle.

“Then they have to quarantine the area or the ranch which means that they cannot sell it and therefore the ranchers lose money,” said Rep. Cuellar (D-TX).

Cuellar said the biggest problem is wildlife like deer spreading it from Mexico into the United States.

“We have to find a way to work with our Mexican counterparts because otherwise, we do our work here, wildlife will cross the river and we start all over again,” said Cuellar.

Experts say cattle ticks are building up resistance to certain treatments. Woodall says the added funding will help find new ways to kill the bug once and for all.

Congressman Cuellar said he wants to see more creative solutions to treat infected cattle better and faster. If a cow or bull is infected, current treatment is very inefficient and may even involve physically moving the cattle away from the farm.



 
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