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Montana's Big Brucellosis Plan

15 January 2009

MONTANA, US - The state of Montana released a brucellosis action plan to a roomful of ranchers Tuesday, detailing steps cattle operators and the state will take to help Montana reclaim its brucellosis-free status.

“This is a template for us to increase surveillance,” said state veterinarian Marty Zaluski.

According to Jessica Mayrer Zaluski of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Mr Zaluski said he hopes to reclaim the state’s brucellosis-free status by November of this year. Two Montana herds, one in Carbon County and another in Park County, have tested positive for the disease since May of 2007.

Elk were the likely culprit transmitting the disease, which causes cattle to abort, biologists have said.

And so, with the Montana Board of Livestock’s nod of approval Tuesday, ranchers in high-risk areas, Carbon, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, Park, Gallatin, Madison and Beaverhead counties are required, with exceptions, to test cattle for the disease to ensure it doesn’t spread, reports the chronicle.

Outside of the high-risk area, the state will concentrate on testing animals slated to be sold outside of Montana, Zaluski said.

The estimated $2.4 million price tag to test cattle will likely be picked up by the state, Zaluski said. If all goes as planned, vets will bill the state for testing and then be reimbursed. But as the legislature hashes out the upcoming budget, it’s not a sure bet just yet.

“The other big question sort of looming in our mind is a funding source,” said Errol Rice, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “We’re going to have to fight and scratch and claw.”

Further Reading

- Find out more information on Brucellosis by clicking here.

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