Livestock Statements Concerning Brucellosis

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC)
September 10, 2013
Austin, Texas

I have been watching and researching the brucellosis issue, especially from DoL and APHIS sites, which prompted my attending a DoL board meeting on July 29th in Helena. During the meeting Dr. Marty Zaluski requested out of state funds to speak at the Texas Animal Heath Commission. When I saw that the TAHC site had audio of the meetings, I waited for the uploaded audio files, downloaded them and began transcribing the testimony. I heard that Dr. Zaluski submitted 50 pages of documentation, so I called the TAHC and requested the public comments, which also included statements from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Cattlemens Association and some Montana ranchers. These are statements we dont normally hear here in Montana concerning brucellosis from this agency and these associations or ranchers. I may compile a side by side of their Montana public statements for comparison.

DoL, "Montana's DSA includes 282 operations with 73,200 cattle and domestic bison. This fiscal year, 42,025 of the 73,200 animals have been tested to achieve a 99% confidence that the disease (if it exists) is present at a rate of less that 0.008%. The chance that any one Montana animal is brucellosis positive is 0.00024%." "In comparison, the state of Montana has an annual infection rate of 0.007% with five affected herds over six years since 2007." "There is no documented case of bulls spreading brucellosis." "So what happens is you have cattle properties that are typically on the flats, the river bottoms and the prairies, and then you have the elk ground that is alot of time in the forest. So its not like those elk are on private property typically, and in fact often times those elk are on BLM or Forest Service land," "So there are practices, its not like they come down on the flats, then spread out five fetuses and they take off."
Heres a really good one - no mention of bison, "So really the DSA in the state of Montana is in southwest Montana. And it is designed to identify the cattle at risk from brucellosis positive elk. So we know that brucellosis positive elk are in southwest Montana, they can potentially expose cattle and so the key to identifying the cattle at risk is to identify where the brucellosis positive elk are."

MSA, "There is an extremely low risk of brucellosis transfer posed by cattle coming out of Montana. While a small area of Montana in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) is affected by rare transfers of brucellosis from wildlife, the state of Montana has proven highly effective in its efforts to mitigate the spread of brucellosis."
Mr. Palmers testimony (audio file 10) on behalf of the Matador Cattle Company (Koch Industries), the owner of the Beaverhead Ranch in southwestern Montana, discussing how little of an issue this is, "the majority of those times those elk are not calving in the same location as the cows."
Darrel Stevenson, Stevenson Angus Ranch, "As you can see the rate of incidence is extraordinarily low and our policing system has proven to manage with superb efficiency....Why isnt the science trusted? As reviewed in the attached, incident rate in Montana is low and imported cattle to Texas become even lower with a pre-shipment test? With no documented case of bulls spreading Brucellosis, why are they bundled into the concern?"

The audio files at the TAHC site take forever during business hours, so I downloaded them and uploaded to this site.
Audio file 8, Brucellosis meeting begins at 18:57, Dr. Zaluski begins at 19:24.
Audio file 8 Transcript
Audio file 9
Audio file 9 Transcript This transcript is only up to 9:59, the end of Dr. Marty Zaluski's, uninterrupted presentation. Question and answers followed. Other comments will be added shortly.
Audio file 10
Audio file 10 Transcript
Audio file 11
Audio file 11 Transcript

Audio of the Sept. 10th TAHC meeting - TAHC site. Click on the audio button to see the audio files. Dr. Marty Zaluski's testimony begins on file 8. 8-11 cover the brucellosis subject.

The following documents were submitted by Montana livestock interests as public statements to the Texas Animal Health Commission concerning their Chapter 35 Rule Proposal on Brucellosis. The commission meeting took place on Sept. 10, 2013, in Austin, TX. DoL's Dr. Marty Zaluski attended the hearing to present the science and Montana's interests. As a result of the public statements and Dr. Zaluski's thorough presentation, Texas at least modified the language in their rule to only affect the Designated Surveillance Areas (DSAs) of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, before passing it. In a couple weeks that modified document will be available and I will post it.

The original 72 page PDF document provided by Texas Animal Health Commission is provided below, but I have also separated out the specific Montana portions to make for easier viewing and use, which are labeled and numbered based on the 72 page document.

 

Texas Secretary of State Proposed Rules

Texas Animal Health Commission Public Comments 72 pages

Department of Livestock - Marty Zalusky pgs. 5-9

USDA APHIS-VS, Don Herriott on risk of latent heifers pgs. 10-12

Montana response to USDA review of Montana's Brucellosis Management Plan (BMP) pgs. 13-24

Presentation Slides on Montana's Brucellosis Program with
testing and export numbers pgs. 25-35

USDA Review of Montana's Brucellosis Management Plan pgs. 36-57

Montana Cattlemens Association pg. 60

Stevenson Angus Ranch, Hobson, MT pgs. 65-66

Montana Stockgrowers Association pgs. 69-70

Montana Elk Brucellosis Working Group pgs. 71-72

 

 

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