Illegal livestock imports rising in Tennessee amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local Coronavirus Coverage

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is warning state residents about the dangers of illegally imported livestock.

TDA officials said COVID-19 has led to backlogs at meat processing facilities in other states, and that’s leading to a rise in illegal shipments and sales of pigs in Tennessee.

“Once we were made aware that animals were moving through markets we know that our local customs slaughterhouses are at capacity and there are rules that require that animals coming in be slaughtered within five days if they move on that type of paperwork,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Samantha Beaty. “We noticed online that people were purchasing animals for their own consumption and they may not be aware that they’re not able to take them to processing.”

Illegally importing any livestock creates a health risk for people and other live stock in the state, according to TDA.

“Even swine that are raised commercially can carry diseases that aren’t detectable without the proper testing and verification. It’s critical for everyone to follow livestock import rules and requirements to make sure we don’t bring illness here,” Dr. Beaty said.

All swine entering the state must have documentation. People who bring livestock into the state illegally can be fined up to a thousand dollars or even face criminal charges.

Read more about requirements here.

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