Helena, MT – The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing updates to the select agents and toxins registration list, as required every two years by the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002. APHIS has completed its fourth biannual review and is proposing to remove certain select agents that no longer need to be regulated as select agents, Brucella abortus (brucellosis) is included in the list. The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is in support of the removal of B. abortus as a select agent that no longer needs to be regulated under this list.
MSGA and its members have significant and long-standing interest in the management of Brucella abortus, due mainly to the high rate of exposure in wildlife in and around Yellowstone National Park (YNP). As many are aware, this disease is highly regulated in domestic cattle and bison and has broad implications for the marketing of cattle and genetics from Montana. The regulation of B. abortus by USDA APHIS has led to the implementation of strict testing and management protocols for cattle in an area surrounding YNP known as the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA).
MSGA does support the proposed removal of Brucella abortus as a select agent that no longer needs to be regulated under this list. MSGA agrees that by removing B. abortus from select agent regulations, will allow for additional research into vaccines for brucellosis. “Our organization sees this as an essential step in the development of new or enhanced vaccines to control this disease in cattle and wildlife in the GYA,” says Gene Curry, President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “The current regulations and restrictions have nearly eliminated the efforts to further vaccine research and other aspects of B. abortus control.”
Due to the extent this disease impacts our state, MSGA recommends APHIS moving forward to remove Brucella abortus from this select agents and toxin registration list.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.