||TAHC's Hurricane IKE Update for September
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)'s Area Command
continues operations in the TAHC headquarters in Austin, with on-site
representatives from the USDAs Veterinary Services, Animal Care, and
National Resources Conservation Services; the Texas Department of Agriculture,
and TXSART. The TAHC also is represented at the State Operations Center
and is in close contact with livestock industry representatives. The Area
Command may be reached at 800-550-8242, ext 296.
A Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) assessment team has nearly completed
the Galveston Island large animal assessment. Fresh water supplies are
being supplied for rescued and stabled animals. The Texas Department of
State Health Services has declared the island unsafe and has advised citizens
to leave and avoid returning until basic resources and services are restored.
The TAHC's livestock carcass assessments were conducted initially in
neighborhoods and in municipalities, but were expanded to include the
entire impact area. Reliable numbers of dead or stranded livestock are
not yet available, as additional carcasses and animals are detected as
the water recedes and roads are cleared in the hard-hit counties along
the coast, allowing access to remote areas.
A team of TAHC and USDA Veterinary Service field staff continues to
work in the Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties area and has short-term,
but greatly appreciated assistance from Florida's State Animal Response
Team, and a response team from New Mexico. In addition to working with
the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Agrilife Extension Service
and producer organizations to acquire and distribute hay, feed, water
and essential equipment for livestock survival, the TAHC's multi-state
team continues livestock assessment by air boats, swamp buggies, by air
and truck. The team is serving as a liaison among producers and local
and state emergency officials. The TAHC also is coordinating carcass disposal
with the National Resources Conservation Services (USDA-NRCS) and other
The NRCS offers financial assistance and proper disposal site identification
to cattle owners who have the means to dispose of livestock carcasses
on their own property. For other situations, NRCS contractors may assist
with removal, transport, and disposal of the carcasses. For application
forms and livestock disposal specifications, contact the NRCS office in
Bryan at (979) 846-0757, ext. 3 or visit the NRCS Texas Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/ike_assist.html.
The USDA's Farm Service Agency has a Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)
available to compensate producers for lost livestock. To participate,
producers may be asked for verifiable records or certifications. The USDA
Farm Service Agency may be reached at 1-866-680-6069 for more information.
An informational sheet from the USDA's Farm Service Agency is posted on
the TAHC's web site at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us
along with information or links from the NCRS, Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality (TCEQ), and other agencies and associations.
The Texas Agrilife Extension Service continues to raise funds and is purchasing
basic items to support surviving, displaced livestock, including hay,
troughs and panels. To make a cash or credit card donation for "Operation
No Fences: Hurricane Ike Horse and Cattle Relief" call 979-845-2604
or go to http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu
and follow the prompts.
The Texas Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline at 1-877-429-1998 is
coordinating the donations of hay, feed and equipment. The relief effort
is moving into its second phase: relocating surviving livestock from the
storm-ravaged area. Fenced pastureland and transportation is needed, and
the TDA will match resources offered with livestock producers in need.
More information may be obtained at www.tda.state.tx.us/hayhotline.
The TXSART, the Texas State Animal Resource Team, is working with a cadre
of credentialed animal care agencies, associations and pet care companies
serving in affected counties to assist local and county animal control
officers and animal care associations. Their work has included capturing
loose animals, providing emergency sheltering, feeding and veterinary
The Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation has developed a tax-deductible
relief fund to support efforts to provide emergency animal shelters, treatment
of animals injured by the hurricane; and the rescue, recovery and reuniting
of lost animals with their owners.
Any excess funds will be used to provide additional support to organizations,
such as the Texas State Animal Resource Team, which are currently providing
assistance to animals due to this disaster or will be providing assistance
to animals in need due to future disasters. A link to the Texas Veterinary
Medical Association's foundation fund is on the TAHC's web site at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us,
or it may be accessed directly on the Texas Veterinary Medical Association's
web site at http://www.tvma.org/.