Posted: Sep 9, 2013 8:40 AM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
Updated: Sep 9, 2013 8:58 AM
HELENA - Texas may soon impose new testing regulations on incoming breeding cattle from Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho.
But, Montana State Veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski is heading down to the Lone Star state later this week to talk about why he believes the rule isn't needed.
The Texas Animal Health Commission believes it's necessary to put an extra testing protocol in place for breeding cattle coming from the states in the Greater Yellowstone area.
That means that a pregnant heifer coming from Montana may have to be quarantined up to 90 days after delivering.
"And we feel that these regulations are redundant, they're not risk based, and they're unwarranted," Dr. Zaluski explained.
But the Texas commission's legal counsel believes it's a crucial way to eliminate the risk of brucellosis, a problem widely eradicated in the United States.
"So, I guess it's an old school way to try and address the problem.There is a latent period where you could have exposure and that's what it's intended to try to reduce or limit the risk of that by focusing on those time frames noted for," Texas Animal Health Commission General Counsel Gene Snelson said.
There is talk of only requiring testing for breeding cattle coming from Montana's Designated Surveillance Area, which encompasses parts of four counties and is where brucellosis positive free ranging elk and bison are know to exist.
"We have a protocol in place to protect our cattle herd against the threat of brucellosis primarily due to the threat that is imposed by wildlife," Snelson said.
Montana stipulates that all sexually intact cattle or domestic bison within this area be vaccinated by 12 months and tested within 30 days of being moved out of the area. But even if Texas just targets this area, it could really impact the state's industry.
"It really does have a big effect and it really limits our ability to market cattle to the state of Texas," said Montana Stockgrowers Association Vice President Errol Rice.
Montana exports right around 6,000 cattle to Texas annually, which comparatively may not be much, but that's not the biggest worry.
What the state is most concerned about is that this new rule Texas could put into place might set a precedent for other states that what Montana does to control and monitor brucellosis just doesn't cut it.
"Why would you want to buy a Montana animal and then subject yourself to a year and a half quarantine?" Dr. Zaluski stated.
That's why Dr. Zaluski hopes to inform the commission on Montana's practices.
"Our best outcome would be that they just don't put these regulations on the state of Montana," Rice told us.
So, Dr. Zaluski will do what he can to change their minds.
"We're trying to convince folks down there that we have a very strong program and that those rules are really unnecessary on their part."