mdol-rule-change

The Montana Department of Livestock has adopted changes to rules affecting vaccination requirements

The newly adopted brucellosis vaccination rule (ARM 32.3.433) mandates that eligible animals in 10 Montana counties must be vaccinated against brucellosis. The change requires that all sexually intact female cattle and domestic bison 12 months of age or older in Beaverhead, Big Horn, Broadwater, Carbon, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, Park, Stillwater, and Sweet Grass Counties must be brucellosis vaccinates. Prior to this rulemaking, only cattle and domestic bison in Gallatin, Madison, Park, and Beaverhead Counties were required to be vaccinated.  This rule includes cattle that enter any of these counties for seasonal grazing.

Beyond the addition of new counties, the rule also moves away from December 1st as the cutoff date for completion of vaccination and no longer specifies that animals be calf-hood vaccinates. This gives producers more options for the management of replacement heifers and allows animals to be vaccinated as adults.

“Vaccination in a broader area than Montana’s DSA provides some protection from sudden changes to the distribution of infected wildlife on the landscape,” said Eric Liska, brucellosis program veterinarian with MDOL. “Vaccination has been shown to minimize the spread of the disease if it is introduced into a livestock herd.”

Producers who have not vaccinated their replacement females in the past should contact their local veterinarian to schedule replacement heifer vaccinations and discuss options for unvaccinated adult females in the herd.

Additionally, changes to ARM 32.3.433 adjusts the DSA boundary in a portion of Beaverhead County. Cattle and domestic bison that utilize this area will be subject to all brucellosis DSA regulations. DSA regulations include brucellosis testing prior to a change of ownership and movement as well as vaccination and identification requirements.

The DSA boundary has expanded 3 times since 2009. Each expansion was made in response to findings of brucellosis in elk which required the inclusion of additional cattle and domestic bison in the surveillance program. The undetected disease spread outside of Montana’s DSA could jeopardize Montana’s federal brucellosis Class Free status, and in 2008, a loss of brucellosis Class Free status was estimated to have cost Montana’s producers up to $11.5 million annually.  DSA regulations and producer compliance have allowed for early disease detection when a periodic transmission from wildlife to livestock does occur. This success promotes trading partner confidence in the disease-free status of Montana’s livestock.

The mission of the Montana Department of Livestock is to control and eradicate animal diseases, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft and predatory animals. For more information on the Montana Department of Livestock, visit www.liv.mt.gov.

Comment Period Opens on DSA Boundary Adjustment; Public Meeting Set for July 2

DSA-map2_closeupPublic comment on expanding the state’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) for brucellosis to include a 365-square mile chunk of land between Norris and Three Forks (see map) opened late last week.

The Montana Board of Livestock at its last meeting approved putting the proposal out for review after learning that 10 of 60 elk in the corresponding elk hunting district (HD311) recently tested positive for exposure to brucellosis. State veterinarian Dr. Marty Zaluski said brucellosis-positive elk were not previously known to exist in the area, which is home to about 50 cattle producers and 12,000 head of cattle.

Created in 2010 with extensive input from the livestock industry and USDA-APHIS, the four-county (Beaverhead, Gallatin, Madison and Park) DSA is designed to prevent the spread of brucellosis and protect the marketability of Montana cattle. Cattle within the DSA are subject to additional testing, vaccination and identification requirements.

If approved, the boundary adjustment would be the third since the DSA was implemented in January 2010. Other adjustments occurred when brucellosis-positive elk where found in 2011 and 2012 on the western edge of the DSA in Beaverhead County.

The department will host a public meeting at 10 a.m. on July 2 at Headwaters Livestock Auction in Three Forks to discuss the proposal. Public comment will be accepted at the meeting, or can be submitted via email at MDOLcomments@mt.gov or via US postal mail at Christian Mackay, 301 N. Roberts St., Room 308, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001.

The public comment period closes July 12.