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Eken letter: Goal is to eradicate bovine TB

I am writing in response to a letter by Brad Barth from Osakis in last week's paper concerning legislation I introduced to help contain and eliminate Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) in Northern Minnesota. This is a serious disease that would reek havoc with our deer population, devastate our cattle industry and could possibly spread to humans, if it is not eliminated. In order to stop its movement into our area we need to act aggressively.

Because of the urgency of the situation I agreed to carry emergency legislation that was the result of meetings between interested stakeholders and state and local officials. Although I had concerns about an item in the bill, I introduced it because I felt it was imperative to get started and I could change it during the committee process. I believed the provision giving the DNR the ability to enter private lands in disease infected area(s) without the owner's permission went too far, which is why I deleted it from the bill at its first committee hearing. My goal is to eradicate the disease and still protect private property rights.

I will continue working with the Governor, area legislators, and local/state officials to prevent the spread of TB into our local communities and eventually eliminate this terrible disease from Minnesota. -- State Representative Kent Eken, District 2A