LDAF urges cattlemen to take precaution

by Walter Pierce

BP crude contaminating pastures is a growing concern as a tropical system moves closer to southwest Louisiana.

With Tropical Storm Bonnie in the Caribbean and the National Weather Service predicting it will hit either southwest Louisiana or southwest Texas, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is urging catlemen to take precautions with their livestock to prevent exposure to crude oil from the BP spill. High winds and tides three to four feet above normal are expected, which could push oil into pastures. According to the latest information from USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), if livestock are suspected to have come into direct contact with oil on inland pastures, they will not be allowed to go to slaughter as a precautionary measure at this time. The animals cannot be shipped to plants for slaughter if the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has credible information that cattle have grazed on oil-contaminated pasture or come into direct contact with oil. FSIS will be conducting a risk assessment for consuming meat from animals exposed to crude oil in order to develop a final recommendation and will work with LDAF to issue a statement upon completion.

Be advised that producer losses due to oil contamination are considered to be caused by a man-made disaster and may not be covered by traditional agricultural indemnity programs, although other forms of compensation may be available through the Oil Pollution Act Claims process. The LDAF suggests that producers take measures to minimize the risk of exposure of their animals to oil due to tropical weather and/or man-made events.