Brucellosis rule changes coming
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
September 24, 2008
About two dozen Sublette County cattle producers gathered at the Pinedale auditorium Tuesday evening to talk about draft rule changes to the state’s brucellosis rules that are being considered by the Wyoming Livestock Board. While the draft changes aren’t official yet, the board is seeking input before it moves forward in a formal rule-making process.
A provision to broaden the brucellosis testing requirement to include sexually intact females 12 months of age was met with widespread opposition. Current state rules provide that females 18 months of age or older within western Wyoming’s brucellosis surveillance area will be tested prior to a change in ownership or prior to leaving the area.
Lowering the age for testing would greatly increase the number of cattle bled for testing, which would be difficult to accommodate with the number of existing veterinarians working in the region. This increased burden on the livestock industry, with no perceived decrease in disease transmission risk, was soundly criticized.
Producers also asked that provisions relating to routinely testing bulls be removed as well.
The good news that producers learned Tuesday night were that there are several groups of animal health officials who are examining ways to improve federal rules to reflect that the risk of brucellosis in livestock is now not a national industry problem, but is due to transmission that occurs from wildlife to livestock in the tri-state Yellowstone region.
The outdated practice of slaughtering entire cattle herds in order for a state to retain its brucellosis-free market status may soon come to an end. Wyoming Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Jim Logan said that animal health officials in the region are looking at changes to federal rules that would eliminate the need to slaughter entire herds for the state to retain its trade status. A proposal will be issued that will allow some level of brucellosis in the high-risk area of the tri-state region before state status would be affected.
Other rule changes would provide for producers to be able to test out of a brucellosis situation in a more simple way than under current rules, Logan said. The herds would still be under quarantine and depopulating the herds would still be an option.