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Associated Press, Published December 15 2009

ND officials revisit bovine TB issue

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota has been restricting cattle shipments from neighboring Minnesota for nearly two years because of the presence of bovine TB in northwestern Minnesota cattle and deer.

Now, North Dakota's Board of Animal Health might be revisiting the issue.

The group that oversees livestock regulation in the state is gathering information that could lead to the easing of the restrictions. State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller will be meeting with wildlife officials in both North Dakota and Minnesota and then reporting back to the board.

Keller says that for any change in the restrictions there likely will need to be convincing new evidence that deer in northwestern Minnesota are not roaming as far as North Dakota officials suspect. Deer can spread bovine TB to cattle.

North Dakota has been deemed "TB-free" for more than three decades and officials fear the loss of that status if the disease makes its way across the border.

Most states have eased restrictions on Minnesota cattle imports, but North Dakota has kept them in place.

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