State veterinarian advises ‘buyer beware’ for livestock purchases

Aug 22, 2022


Any purchase sight unseen carries risk, and that’s especially true for livestock. Tennessee’s State Veterinarian is advising livestock buyers of best practices and legal requirements before purchasing animals for import into the state.
“Emerging diseases and parasites have been introduced into Tennessee this year through infected livestock purchased without the buyer seeing the animals in advance,” State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty says. “I recommend buyers visualize animals in-person before money changes hands to help minimize the risk of moving disease onto their farm or into their established herd. I discourage purchase of animals sight unseen from an online source where delivery is included. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.”
Additionally, all animals moving into Tennessee are required by law to have a current health certificate issued within 30 days of movement and official identification where applicable by law. Buyers and shippers must adhere to all other state and federal import rules and regulations. These rules can be accessed at 0080-02-01.20210621.pdf (tnsosfiles.com)
If it isn’t possible for a buyer to see the animal or animals in-person before purchase, the buyer should consider having a licensed veterinarian conduct an examination. Having livestock checked by a veterinarian is the best way to detect disease before you spend money or introduce sick animals into your herd. 
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division is responsible for promoting animal health in Tennessee. The state veterinarian’s office seeks to prevent the spread of disease through import and movement requirements, livestock traceability, disaster mitigation, and the services of the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. The division collaborates with other health-related stakeholders, academic institutions, and extension services to support One Health, an initiative to improve health for people and animals.
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