Mexican producers, livestock organizations and authorities are taking joint actions to help eradicate bovine tuberculosis in regions key to cattle production. Ranchers are also seeking to regulate the imports of live bovine cattle to avoid the spread of animal diseases.
Cattle exports are a key economic driver for several regions in the country. During the 2020-2021 cattle cycle, Mexico exported 1.23 million calves and castrated heifers to the US, which generated an economic benefit of MX$20 billion (US$951 million) for cattle ranchers, mainly in the north Huasteca and the Yucatan Peninsula. For that reason, bovine diseases are more than an environmental and welfare risk; they put at risk the livelihoods of thousands. Mexican producers and authorities are focusing their efforts on the eradication of bovine tuberculosis in Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, the Huasteca region and the Yucatan Peninsula. Some advances have been reported in 10 municipalities in Jalisco, five in Guanajuato and two in Hidalgo.
Ranchers are also seeking to regulate the imports of live bovine cattle for slaughter from Central America and to combat illegal transfers through the southern border. It is essential to eradicate bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis and ticks, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER). An animal welfare system could help prevent environmental repercussions, especially as growing demand is expected to further burden producers, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Under these circumstances, OIE calls for a more sustainable livestock production system and a comprehensive public policy for the region.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Víctor Villalobos Arámbula highlighted that the ministry constantly monitors notifications of new outbreaks, such as avian influenza, to prevent the spread of animal diseases. SADER has also implemented import restrictions in swine products originating from countries affected by African swine fever (ASF). However, the more demand, the higher risks to livestock health especially as viruses can mutate and lead to new diseases.
"We have operated in support of half a million small-scale producers exempt from paying taxes through our Specialized Provider of Digital Tax Receipts for the Primary Sector, which contributes to their entry into the formal market,” said Villalobos. The National Agricultural Registry has also helped issue animal health certificates.