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The Associated Press June 24, 2010, 2:42PM ET

North Dakota eases cattle import restrictions

North Dakota has eased testing requirements for most cattle entering the state from Minnesota and Montana.

The state Board of Animal Health decision means beef cattle from most areas of Minnesota will no longer need to be tested for bovine tuberculosis prior to being brought into North Dakota. The disease causes severe coughing, fatigue, emaciation and debilitation in cattle and results in reduced milk and meat production.

Requirements remain in effect for animals from a small area in northwestern Minnesota where the federal government requires testing. North Dakota's TB testing requirements for rodeo and dairy cattle from all states also are still in place.

The board also voted to recognize Montana's designated surveillance area for infectious bacterial disease brucellosis, meaning cattle will need to be tested for the disease only if they come from a smaller area where Montana is already regulating.

Brucellosis is rarely transmitted to humans but can cause spontaneous abortions, infertility, decreased milk production and weight loss in cattle, elk, bison and other mammals.

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