MAP: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going Part 2

18 years have passed since the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies, and the National Johne’s Disease Working Group (NJWG) presented recommendations to the USDA, to further research and test for correlations between Johne’s Disease, MAP (mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis), and Crohn’s. What happened with the recommended follow-ups? [1]

In a 2018 article by the USDA, acknowledgement of correlation between Johne’s Disease and MAP is stated; that article listed tips for preventative measures and then referred the reader (farmers) to their local livestock veterinarian or state extension office. [2]

However, the 2018 article was a revision of a 2017 article, which discussed Johne’s clinical stages and signs, encouraged farmers to participate in initiatives, such as Voluntary Bovine Johne’s Disease Control Program, and encouraged veterinarians to become Johne’s Certified; but why the change, and what about the MAP/Johne’s/Crohn’s connection? [3]

While I applaud this measure from the USDA and recognize it as somewhat proactive, why aren’t these USDA voluntary recommendations mandatory and funded? Why isn’t the USDA doing more to help our farmers and producers with subsidies and grants accomplish to this? The USDA dedicated website “Grants and Loans for Farmers,” made no mention of Johne’s, mycobacteria or paratuberculosis as of June 2018. [4]

Testing is expensive; farmers and producers may not be able to financially make this a possibility. Why hasn’t the USDA conducted it’s own testing relating MAP to Johne’s and Crohn’s, or have they? In the long run, is it not plausible to financially aid farmers and producers to test and perform biosecurity measures, and reduce MAP transmission into our nations food and water supplies?

I find it curious why the “National Updates” of tested for infection herds (beef and dairy cattle), as of April 26, 2018 only list updates from 2005 – 2006. Pooled sample testing of dairy and beef cattle, and vaccinations of such are last reported as of 2009, the year Tom Vilsack became head of USDA, appointed by the Obama Administration. [5][6][7]

Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA 2009-2017, current president and CEO of US Dairy Export Council, and former governor of Iowa was named as Governor of the Year by Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and has reported interests with Monsanto. [8]

Since the USDA and various committees recognize and address MAP as a problem for humans and livestock, and if such testing was conducted by the USDA during or after Vilsack’s 8 year tenure, where are the results? Are they not testing anymore, or are they? Don’t we as individuals have a right to know, so that we can make informed decisions?

1. National Research Council (US) Committee on Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Diagnosis and Control of Johne’s Disease. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2003. Executive Summary.

2. USDA APHIS Johne’s Disease Information 2018

3. USDA APHIS Johne’s Disease Information 2017

4. Grants and Loans for Farmers

5. Number of Herds in the Johne’s Program 2005-2006

6. Environmental and Pooled Fecal Samples October 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009

7. Number of Vaccinated Herds and Calves October 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009

8. Tom Vilsack meets with Monsanto 2015

1 comment

Great content, informative and helpful.

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