Texas obtains 'swine brucellosis free' status


June 14, 2011 at 1:14 a.m.

Texas swine producers have one less thing to worry about.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently declared Texas free of swine brucellosis, a bacterial disease that affects the animals' reproductive tracts.

Texas detected several infected swine herds beginning in the mid-1990s and began surveillance efforts and testing, according to a Texas Animal Health Commission news release. Cooperation from the state's commercial swine industry, local producers, Texas Pork Producers Association and animal health commission eventually led to the declaration.

The news is good for the Texas swine industry, state veterinarian Dr. Dee Ellis said in the news release.

"This action relieves certain restrictions on the interstate movement of breeding swine from Texas," Ellis said. "We will continue our surveillance efforts, however, to help maintain Texas' swine brucellosis-free status."

Swine brucellosis is not a major issue in Victoria County, but other diseases have played their role, said Bobbie Guinn, junior breeding swine superintendent for the 2010 Victoria Livestock Show.

Hog cholera hit the area in the late 1950s so extensively that the Victoria Livestock Show did away with the breeding swine division for years. None of the animals could be eaten or sold, she explained.

"We haven't had a hog disease in Victoria County in at least 30 years," Guinn said, explaining the stock show eventually reintroduced the breeding division.

Whether brucellosis has local effects or not, disease eradication is always a step forward, she added.

"Hog disease is just like human disease," she said. "When you think back, kids used to have to go through mumps, measles and chicken pox. Now they don't, because we have inoculations."

Brooke Brooks has raised hogs for the Victoria Livestock Show for seven years and, in 2010, won grand champion for her carcass hog.

She agreed it was good to get rid of diseases, but said it would not affect the way she raised her hogs.

"You still have to vaccinate the animals, no matter what," Brooke, 16, explained. "It's just easier to be on the safe side, especially when you invest so much into an animal."



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