New Guidance on HPAI From USDA

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The following is from the NCDA&CS Veterinary Division; to subscribe to this newsletter, please send an email to the Veterinary Division’s general email account,

NC to SC Direct to Slaughter Document Approved (Updated May 1, 2024)

The National Assembly of State Animal Health Officials (NASAHO) continues to work to obtain a consensus regarding a movement document and stipulations for direct-to-slaughter lactating dairy cattle crossing state lines without pre-movement testing as approved by USDA APHIS. This interstate direct-to-slaughter movement does not require testing, but does require official individual identification (such as 840 RFID tags or back tags) recorded on a document approved by both the origin and destination State Animal Health Officials (SAHOs), such as an ICVI or other approved document.

The South Carolina State Veterinarian, Dr. Michael Neault, has approved movements from NC to SC for direct-to-slaughter movements as of today. Please find the document here: NC-SC Direct-to-slaughter movement document

Please see our one page reference document here: NCDA&CS FAQ

Here are some helpful highlights from this document:

What do lactating dairy cows need to move out of NC?

  • Negative Influenza A milk sample results. The results are valid for 7 days from the date of collection.
  • An ICVI or SAHO-approved official documentation with individual official animal identification.
  • No positive Influenza A tests from any lactating cattle on the premises in the past 30 days.

What about lactating dairy cows not affected with HPAI moving directly to slaughter?

  • Movement from a NC premise (farm or market) across state lines directly to a packer requires an ICVI or SAHO-approved official documentation, but does not require a negative Influenza A test.
  • Cattle may move to a NC market from a NC farm without a CVI or negative influenza A test.

Do beef or non-lactating dairy cows have to be tested?

  • NO: Beef cattle and non-lactating dairy cattle (heifers, dry cows, and bull calves) are not currently subjected to the Federal Order.

Please note that any animal moving across state lines for any reason other than slaughter will require premovement testing as described by USDA APHIS. Additionally, please be aware that this movement document and guidance is current as of today and will be updated frequently. As new documents are released, previous documents will become obsolete and unofficial. Please check the version date in the lower left corner for the reference.

USDA APHIS has released a guidance document to supplement the previously released Federal Order. Some key points addressed in this document:

  • Prior to interstate movement, lactating dairy cattle are required to receive a negative test for Influenza A virus at an approved National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) laboratory using an NAHLN approved assay.
  • APHIS will reimburse for all interstate premovement testing at NAHLN laboratories; therefore, this testing at NAHLN laboratories will be completed at no cost to the producer/submitter.
  • Nonclinical lactating dairy cattle moving interstate direct to slaughter are not required to have a premovement test but must move on a certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation of movement approved by the sending and receiving state animal health officials and provided to the sending and receiving state animal health officials.
  • Note that this does not include movement to/through a livestock market, but must be direct to a slaughter facility. (Clarification from April 27, 2024:  The Federal Order does not apply to the intrastate movement of a lactating dairy cow to a sale barn. Subsequent interstate movement for a lactating dairy cow from a sale barn directly to a slaughter facility requires only a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) stating that the animal is clinically healthy; no testing is necessary.)
  • Clinical lactating dairy cattle are ineligible for interstate movement or movement to slaughter.

APHIS Requirements and Recommendations for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 Virus in Livestock For State Animal Health Officials, Accredited Veterinarians and Producers

In addition to the Guidance Document, USDA APHIS has also released a supplemental FAQ document. Here are some excerpts:

Are there plans to expand mandatory testing to all cattle, not just dairy cattle moving interstate?

  • Not at this time. USDA is closely monitoring the situation and is working closely with state partners to encourage states to implement parallel measures for the intrastate movement of animals under state authorities.

How are lactating cattle defined?

  • Lactating dairy cattle are defined as a cow that is producing milk, regardless of the volume of milk that she is producing. This does not include dairy calves, pregnant heifers, or dairy cows that are ‘dry’ or no longer producing milk. The Federal Order will be applied initially only to lactating dairy cattle.

How long will it take for producers to get results for their animals?

  • Samples submitted to a NAHLN lab are usually returned within 1-3 days, depending upon laboratory workload. If any sample is non-negative, it undergoes confirmatory testing at NVSL, which is usually completed within 1-2 days. USDA is preparing for an influx of testing requests when the Federal Order goes into effect and will work closely with our NAHLN partners to ensure timely processing.

Federal Order to Assist with Developing a Baseline of Critical Information and Limiting the Spread of H5N1 in Dairy Cattle: Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Useful Links and Information

Federal Order Requiring Testing for and Reporting of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Livestock

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Detections in Livestock

Q&A Regarding Milk Safety During Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) Outbreaks

Updates on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI)