Tennessee Department of Agriculture highlights dangers of illegal livestock

Some states have seen an uptick in illegal shipments and sales of livestock as consumers look to fill their freezer.

Illegal livestock can have far reaching consequences for local producers, according to Tennessee State Veterinarian Samantha Beaty.

“Importing animals illegally into the state can have direct consequences on our own animal industries,” Beaty said. “We don’t want our pork producers to suffer the consequences of diseases that we may not have here from animals that are brought in without our knowledge.”

Beaty says she was alerted Friday of animals crossing state lines from Alabama and Mississippi without appropriate documentation.

According to Beaty, it is usually dealers and not farmers selling illegal livestock and buyers should ask for proper documentation before purchasing animals.

“Knowing where your animals are coming from, what sources they are being brought to us from is important...you want to make sure that it’s come from a healthy source,” she said.

In Tennessee, illegal importation of livestock can result in civil penalties up to $1,000 dollars per animal and possibly criminal charges.

To shop for verified processors and livestock producers, click HERE