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Sick Cow Costs Montana Its Brucellosis-Free Status

Sick Cow Costs Montana Its Brucellosis-Free Status

A sick cow near Yellowstone National Park has Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and cattlemen calling for measures to protect stock and ranchers.

The disease is brucellosis. The cow was in Paradise Valley. In May, it tested positive for the disease that causes cows to abort. The case will cause Montana to lose its federal designation as brucellosis-free.

“The big unknown is what will be the impact on the marketplace here in Montana,” said Dennis McDonald, former president of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association. “None of us know for sure. It’ll be a financial burden. It’s a question to what extent.”

What it means is that all of Montana’s livestock producers will now be required to test bulls and cows, unspayed and 18-months-old or older a month before interstate shipment.

Montana cattle ranchers who want to ship or move their stock will have to prove to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that the animals does not have brucella abortus bacterium, the causative agent of the disease, which does not have health risks associated with humans.

“It’s an enormous amount of work,” McDonald said.

Montana veterinarian Marty Zaluski said the loss of brucellosis free status is particularly frustrating given efforts by livestock producers and the industry to mitigate risks and increase disease surveillance.

“Producers in the Paradise Valley have been involved and diligent, and they have taken it upon themselves to be proactive in regard to managing the risk of brucellosis transmission,” Zaluski said. “In this particular case, the owner did everything right. The cow had been vaccinated twice and was part of a herd management plan.”

Officials will test to track the cause of the disease in the Paradise Valley animal. The last case was linked to elk, Zaluski said.

About a year ago, the disease was discovered in a Bridger cattle herd. Two herds, totaling 585 animals were killed to limit the spread of the disease. To keep its brucellosis-free status from the USDA, the state would have had to have no cases until July, 2009. Previously, Montana livestock had been free of the disease since 1985.

The soonest the state can apply to regain class free status is a year from the date the last positive animal was killed, which will be May 27 next year.

All other animals in the herd where the sick cow was found have tested negative for brucellosis. Herds with links to the herd where the infected cow was found will be placed under quarantine unless, or until, they are whole-herd tested.

McDonald of the Cattlemen’s Association said the second case does not come as a surprise. “I’m only surprised it took as long as it did,” he said. “It’s obvious that park wildlife is a reservoir of brucellosis.”

McDonald said the National Park Service has not made any significant efforts to curb the spread of the disease, which he was careful not to blame on bison.

McDonald advocated for vaccination

“We need funds for more research into a better vaccine. We need a plan to vaccinate wildlife in a manner that’s least destructive to their lives and ecosystems,” McDonald said.

Plus, he said, the area near Yellowstone National Park needs to be treated differently than the rest of the state.

Gov. Schweitzer agreed. Montana needs “split-state” status, he said, so cattle ranchers across the state won’t be affected by cases near Yellowstone.

Schweitzer has been advocating for a different brucellosis management strategy near the park since taking office. He called for a small, separate management zone—termed “split-state status” by USDA—for the area immediately surrounding the park. Only about 5 percent of the state’s cattle would have been affected by the USDA action.

“Let’s not play the blame-game,” McDonald said. “Let’s roll up our sleeves and figure out the next step.”

About Robert Struckman

Comments

  1. Robert Hoskins says:

    Robert

    Do some digging here. There is no evidence whatsoever that elk were the cause of the Morgan/Bridger outbreak last year, and considerable circumstantial evidence that brucellosis was brought into the herd by Texas imports, Corriente cattle. Let’s not forget that APHIS failed to secure the necessary blood samples from 6 of the 7 affected Bridger cattle at the slaughterhouse because of a concern of violating the slaughterhouse owner’s private property rights. How convenient, allowing scientific evidence to be destroyed. So there’s no scientific evidence whatsoever as to the source of the outbreak, but it is certainly convenient to blame elk to protect the guilty. I suspect the same problem applies to the Paradise Valley discovery.

    In short, I think that instead of a wildlife problem, we’re actually seeing a breakdown of the USDA interstate market surveillance system so that diseased cattle are slipping through from herd to herd.

    It’s simply not going to fly to blame wildlife any more for problems created and sustained by the livestock industry itself. No one from either APHIS or the Montana DOL have any credibility here.

    Any questions, contact me through info@gravelbar.org and I’ll be glad to elaborate on the details. Another excellent source of information on this issue is Glenn Hockett of the Gallatin Wildlife Association in Bozeman

    Robert Hoskins
    Crowheart,Wyoming

  2. Robert Hoskins says:

    I need to make another correction to this story. When Wyoming lost its brucellosis free status in 2004, being dropped to Class A status, only cattle being shipped out of state for breeding or feeding had to be tested. Cattle being shipped directly to slaughter did not have to be tested. This is a huge difference from the claim that all cattle over 18 months shipped out of state have to be tested.

  3. jhwygirl says:

    Robert – while APHIS had, as you state, conveniently lost the evidence, it is pretty hard to argue that the brucellosis did not come from elk. Numerous articles mentioned that the herd had intermingled with elk, or been near elk, etc.

    This is just one of the many articles that suggested elk had been the cause: http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2007/05/24/news/30bison.txt

    Never once, in following that story, had any news source suggested the possibility of bison as being the cause.

    Perhaps you have a source suggesting otherwise?

  4. Ann says:

    We can only hope they get to the source of the disease, and concentrate on where it really came from. Then decide if it is REALLY that big of a threat, so would it really be necessary to destroy an entire herd, because of one cow? Put that herd in a ‘Stephan’s Creek’ type facility, implant it vaginally, and study them on how and what all brucellosis does or doesn’t do to these domestic cows. Then test their vaccines on this herd until they figure out the best vaccine that works on cattle. Then market it. Why waste all the effort on a herd of Bison when they now have a herd of Cattle they can treat the way they want to treat the Bison. Keep the Domestic diseases domestic. Fix it in the domestic. Use the budget from APHIS. Save some money.

  5. moos says:

    Here we go again. . . I had my herd destroyed due to a political solution, not a scientific solution.

  6. doug says:

    I am not an expert on the cattle industry, but don’t the MT stockgrowers represent a lot more ranchers than the Cattleman’s Association? Is there some reason to interview the head of the Democratic Party, Mr. McDonald, rather than talking to the MT Stockgrowers? What is the stockgrowers position on this issue? I assume they have a position; is it different from the Cattleman’s? If so, why is new west talking to the smaller group? Also, was the Cattleman’s group set up simply to serve as a Democratic alternative to the stockgrowers? I think the stockgrowers have been around forever.

  7. Robert Hoskins says:

    Jackson Hole Wyoming Girl

    There is every reason to doubt that elk were the cause of the Bridger/Morgan outbreak. An assertion of intermingling, or “elk days” of elk around cattle, or mere geographic proximity of elk and cattle, (or bison and cattle for that matter) is scientifically insufficient to make a valid claim of causation. That’s what was proposed for the Parker outbreak here in Dubois 20 years ago, and that claim, and the so-called epidemiological report from APHIS that asserted that claim, went down in flames from scientific critique. Yet, we still hear the claim from APHIS and the livestock industry that “elk or bison infected Parker’s herd with brucellosis. That’s simply a lie, and quite frankly, the very fact of the consistent lying about the Parker and other brucellosis outbreaks in the 1980s is a good reason to question anything we hear from the livestock industry today.

    What we know from outbreaks in Idaho and Wyoming where causation was legitimately tied to elk that two factors are necessary: high seroprevalence of brucellosis in elk (feedground elk) and close and continuous contact between elk and cattle by feeding–negligent feeding, by the way. Neither of these two factors apply in Montana.

    I find it interesting that a year after the Bridger/Morgan outbreak we have no official epidemiological report from APHIS or DOL. All we have are these various assertions sprinkled throughout the press, including the Bozeman Chronicle article you include above, that elk are to blame. Do you knot find it interesting that the livestock industry absolutley refuses to discuss the possibility that the imported Corriente cattle were the source?

    There’s an old trick of intelligence analysis: look for the truth in what’s absent.

    In short, no proof, no truth. But with the livestock industry, it’s no facts, all innuendo.

    We’ve gotten nothing but misrepresentation and lies from the livestock industry regarding the Bridger/Morgan outbreak. We’ll get nothing but the same in the reporting on this most recent outbreak in Paradise Valley.

    It would be nice if the press engaged in what quaintly used to be known as “investigative journalism” regarding the brucellosis issue.

    RH

  8. Pronghorn says:

    Investigative journalism…I remember those days. Heck, I even remember the days of factual journalism! From today’s Missoulian State Bureau: “A complicated federal and state plan intended to prevent Yellowstone’s WILD ANIMALS (emphasis mine) from spreading the disease has been in effect…”

  9. steve kelly says:

    Zero tolerance for a microbe constitutes an unworkable public policy that needs rethinking. APHIS will never totally eliminate the threat in the wild, but could do a lot more to improve the odds by focusing on a livestock vaccine that works more effectively.

  10. Robert Hoskins says:

    Pronghorn

    Yes, these days, as bad as things are, I’d settle just for factual journalism. What we’re getting right now from the press is free-lance public relations work for the various industries, with never a hint that these industries might be operating in ways that damage the public interest and the common good. It’s all advertising and marketing now.

    Oh, for the good old days when the job of the press was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Now it’s comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.

    RH

  11. Buffalo says:

    I’m surprised neither Gov. Schweitzer or McDonald didn’t blame the buffalo or even make any mention of them. Maybe Schweitzer will just slaughter more buffalo without telling anyone.

  12. Robert Hoskins says:

    Buffalo

    The livestock industry probably thinks it’s got the bison pretty well corralled–after all, they’ve slaughtered bison down to probably less than 1500 animals total–and now it’s time to extend control over elk, in the same manner that Wyoming’s livestock industry has control over elk through the feedgrounds.

    One would hope that Montana elk hunters would see this coming, but apparently not.

    RH

  13. Ann says:

    I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t test every Bison they killed for Brucellosis, they say half the herd was infected, they knew they were going to do an all out assault on the Bison this past year because they are starting to get ‘found out’. So why not test and kill every one that was positive (in their eyes) and there would then be no more infected Bison. They don’t want to solve this supposed problem, and this past season has proven that. Now watch and they will inadvertently lose the samples from this ‘hot’ cow, and they will just ‘assume’ it was from elk.
    Like Karen said, there is no science to this senseless slaughter of animals it’s all political.

  14. Buffalo says:

    Robert Hoskins,
    Wyoming already started a project to capture and slaughter elk in the Pinedale area. Here’s a video

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=jATsyK4JhWQ

  15. Robert Hoskins says:

    Thanks. I’ve seen it. I was present at the meeting three years ago when the decision was taken to implement the program. That decision was immediately followed by another decision to not call it test and slaughter, but test and removal. So sanitary, test and removal.

  16. barb in west yellowstone says:

    here’s a cute little tidbit from today’s bozeman chronicle ….

    http://bozemandailychronicle.com/articles/2008/06/10/news/10brucellosis.txt

    “DOL spokesman Steve Merritt said he’d been ordered not to identify the owner.”

    Now, why would we want to keep that a secret? Hmmm, maybe the secret will prevent us from learning whether this was an “open” or a “closed” herd … just saying …

    barb in west yellowstone

  17. Bill O'Connell says:

    And now, it turns out Art Burns’ herd consists entirely of Corriente cattle, aka Mexican roping stock. The majority of the cattle testing positive in last summer’s Bridger brucellosis discovery were Corriente also.
    APHIS/DOL refuses to release the epidemiological report from that event, and have even said it’s still in “draft” status.

    This stinks more by the minute.

  18. Robert Hoskins says:

    Bill

    Can we confirm that Burns’ herd is part or totally Corriente? This is an important point and we need to know it for a fact. A number of comments on various stories in the Billings Gazette alude to these cattle being Corrientes, but I’ve seen nothing confirmed. Thanks.

    It is vitally important that we break the “draft” report loose from APHIS.

    RH

  19. Bill O'Connell says:

    For a change Scott McMillion with the Chronicle broke this bombshell.
    http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

    And yes, it appears Burns’ herd of ~50 head is completely Corriente.

    Wow. Just wow. I think this may be one of your lines, Robert, but this clearly shows there is a God, and she has a great sense of humor!

  20. Dave Skinner says:

    Yeah, that the cows are Corrientes is probably relevant here. Texas was the last state to get Class Free, and Mexico is certainly not brucellosis-free.
    As for microbes, Steve, what if those microbes aren’t native to the continent but an exotic. I would expect those of your general political makeup and ecological, um, leanings, would fully support eradication of an exotic.
    Fact is, the brucellosis situation is not a natural disease event. And while it it not an easy situation, clear eyed reasoning would indicate that an intense cycle of test and slaughter for both elk and bison would eventually remove brucellosis from the pool. It will cost a lot, and take a long time, but with the new RB51 vaccine, it is in fact more doable than it has been since the dang NPS got stupid and stopped managing a known disease reservoir — of an exotic — all in the holy name of NATURAL management.
    Then, of course, the screaming and shouting over the place and time for elk and bison in the Yellowstone region would have to be on the merits alone…what belongs and what doesn’t.

  21. Bill O'Connell says:

    “intense cycle of test and slaughter for both elk and bison”

    That’s where some of the cow boys are headed with this, no question.

    With buffalo, well, you’ve had your chance.
    With elk…? You’re not going to get it. The very idea is sheer fantasy.
    But then don’t you hunt, Dave? The elk are that much tamer up in the Flathead? I’m just trying to figure out how you could get your mind around the idea of capturing all those elk.

  22. the victim of a blue-tailed fly says:

    This ought to illicit a lot of response, but I am not saying it to be provocative:

    Montana cows have brucellosis, and I don’t give a damn.

    The Cattlemen’s Association, and ranchers generally, have spent their political capital with me on this issue.

    “Jim crack corn and I don’t care”

  23. the victim of a blue-tailed fly says:

    excuse me, I meant “elicit” a lot of response.

  24. doug says:

    You know, I think I agree with those here who say we should just stop having any sympathy for the ranchers. Let them go out of business. They can sell their land and retire. Plenty of folks will be eager to buy up their property, particularly in the Paradise Valley. So we don’t need to feel sorry for the ranchers. They’ll make out like bandits when the subdivision developers come around handing out wads of cash.

  25. Ann says:

    I keep hoping the individual cattle rancher will open their eyes and see what is about to hit them head on, and it won’t have anything to do with wildlife. These associations, and Health inspectors, have been wasting an awful lot of money for an awful long time, to prevent something from happening that was bound to happen because no one was watching the front door. But I must say my sympathy, and attempts to ‘enlighten’ are about to run out. I will not stop trying to get the mistreatment of Bison stopped, nor will I sit by and watch ‘them’ destroy the elk, but at times it does seem like the wall (politicians) is more dense than first thought, some definitely are denser than others.

  26. Robert Hoskins says:

    Bill

    As for God, I think right now She’s really, really pissed off.

    RH

  27. the victim of a blue-tailed fly, says:

    you know, doug, I know you didn’t mean it, but that’s about right. I didn’t start out feeling that way. Like any native Montana, I’m predisposed to having sympathy for ranchers. But I’m ’bout over it. High time the free market takes over. Let the ranchers sell what they can, let the state and enviros put their money where there mouth is and buy the rest to manage as they see fit. I’ve no longer got any problem with it. Free rides can’t go on forever.

  28. doug says:

    that’s right, victim. those ranches are worth a lot more as subdivisions than they are as ranches. bring a lot more money into the state. we can’t have our kids keep leaving the state to find jobs elsewhere.

  29. the victim of a blue-tailed fly says:

    not sure the kind of jobs more subdivisions would bring would be good jobs for our kids (at least not once those subdivisions are all built), but it certainly would bring more money into the state.

    “Jim crack corn and I don’t care”

  30. Dave Skinner says:

    That’s exactly what several ranchers in the Paradise told me last summer, Doug. Up and sell for houses. And they can. They’ll retire in serious style, and everything that Hoskins and Hockett hate worst will happen. Perfect.

  31. jhwygirl says:

    Basing an economy on growth – i.e., real estate – is dangerous.

    Thing is, you eventually run out of land.

    Further, it’s not sustainable. Construction shouldn’t be the core basis of economic growth. There’s only so much stuff you can build. You’ve got to have industry – and construction isn’t industry, folks.

  32. Bill O'Connell says:

    What’s rarely mentioned is the economic engine bison could be. Now you talk about sustainable…!
    By merely getting out of the way, and isolating a few cows if need be, wild bison could and would become an enormous asset to Montana. Far beyond merely a hunt, which is no slouch thing in itself, but we’re talking what would be a world-renowned wildlife resource. There’d be a bit of economic opportunity around that kind of thing, don’tcha think?

  33. Ann says:

    Bill;
    That could be another reason the cattle industry is so against them. They are afraid that people will actually start eating more Bison and they will stop eating Beef. I refuse to buy Montana Beef.

  34. Robert Hoskins says:

    Bill

    I agree wholeheartedly. But the politics are against it. Look at the response to the Buffalo Commons and the Big Open.

    Getting bison into Charlie Russell would be a big step in the right direction, and then we could close down the gap between Yellowstone and Charlie Russell. But it’d be fight all the way.

    JHWyoGirl

    No doubt the construction industry would disagree that it isn’t an industry, but I take your point. The question is, what industries are sustainable in the intermountain west? Tourism and the rest of the amenities economy, not to mention subdivisions and the supporting construction industry, won’t survive oil at $250/barrel, and we’re moving rapidly in that direction. People want to fall back on agriculture, but agriculture at the scales of production and centralization that we now have isn’t sustainable, and will become less sustainable as the West becomes drier and drier. People are going to have to become more and more responsible for their own food production, and agriculture will have to become more ecological and far less destructive of land and wildlife than it is now. Certainly, Bill’s suggestion of a wildlife based economy makes a lot of sense ecologically, but there’s the devil in the details. But whatever happens, it has to be ecological, decentralized, regional, and sustainable. Certainly, bison are preferable to corrientes.

    RH

  35. Bill O'Connell says:

    I would argue that the politics are changing, right here before our eyes. If someone has better ideas; speak up!
    These open forums are unprecedented. I’ve been accused of being “stuck in the past”, but it looks to me like the anti-wildlife crowd might have been better off if that damn Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet.

  36. Robert Hoskins says:

    Bill

    Yes, the politics appear to be changing, but as they change, the livestock oligarchy is striking back with even greater violence; bison numbers are much lower than what we’re hearing in the press. From my own counts in the Park, two over the last month, I can’t establish more than 1700 animals total. And I’m very likely too high; I have no idea what the winter kill count will be. We have to deal with that.

    What needs to happen is that we need to put a stop to brucellosis management of wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone. Get rid of the IBMP in Montana. Get rid of Wyoming’s feedground regime. Get rid of the GYIBC. Get APHIS and DOL out of wildlife management. Move these animals out on to the landscape and allow ecological processes to reduce disease. Require the livestock industry to take care of anf pay for its own problems, which are entirelyof its own making, and not dump them upon the public and wildlife to pay the costs.

    RH

  37. Buffalo says:

    RH

    YES!!!! I totally agree with you:)) It’s nice to know there is someone else who thinks this way. Do you work in YNP? What is your job there?

  38. Robert Hoskins says:

    Buffalo

    If I worked for YNP, I’d get fired for what I’m saying, or sent to Guantanamo. I’m completely independent.

    RH

  39. Buffalo says:

    RH
    You said you had counted the numbers in the park over the past month. So, I thought you worked there. There are park service employees that disagree with the park service.

  40. Bill O'Connell says:

    Yes, there’s PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
    http://www.peer.org

    They had an article of Bob Jackson’s on there earlier, which to my knowledge only also ran in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. I was hoping we’d see it in the New York Times and such, but it was real hard on Yellowstone administration for what is, in my opinion, criminal negligence in overseeing this recent bison slaughter.
    It’s one thing when DOL/APHIS does this kind of thing, but Yellowstone Park and Montana FWP? But now they’re going to finally “adapt” the IBMP?
    Please…
    We’ve seen where their allegiance lies, and why didn’t THEY question these assertions of elk transmitting brucellosis instead of, say, Corriente cattle?
    But no, everyone just rubber-stamps the company line, even though they’ve never seen the report. At least now WE have.
    If it was a term paper and I were a teacher, I’d give it a D. Or if the kid were an arrogant little so and so, an F.

  41. Bill O'Connell says:

    Near as Google and I can tell, Jackson’s article has disappeared off the PEER site.
    Fortunately it’s still on Ralph Maughan’s site, http://wolves.wordpress.com/2008/02/29/why-is-yellowstone-destroying-its-bison-herd-editorial-by-bob-jackson/

    Culpable pretty well catches it.

  42. Ann says:

    Speaking of Bob Jackson, I pray he’s not in part of the flooding going on in Iowa.

  43. Marion says:

    Robert, if you only counted 1700 buffalo, you missed quite a number. It is true that there were few buffs in Hayden, mostly becasue the snow was still so deep, but a lot along the Madison, and from Mammoth on out into the Lamar there are lots. I’d say there are will over 2000 left.
    Not many elk though and those there are have few calves.
    Again, I think everyone is missing the obvious in the brucellosis outbreaks (Wyoming has another herd affected too)….predators! They are what is different in the last few years and they carry tissue from one place to another.
    The hatred of ranchers is an amazing thing to see.

  44. moos says:

    Subdivision = the best cash crop there is.

    Bill O’Connell – The “hot cow” last May was a bangs vaccinated Black Angus that had slumped two calves. She originated from the Emigrant herd. The other six that were “considered positive” by the acronyms were: three vaccinated Black Angus cows with healthy calves and three purchased unvaccinated Corriente cows with healthy calves.

  45. Bill O'Connell says:

    Moos; you’re a voice of reason here, I know. So you tell me, are APHIS slaughter requirements the way to go here?

    Personally, I’m still absorbing the ramifications of the Corriente connection. I know, the initial “hot” cow they caught was Angus. Who’d aborted twice. And then was sent to TransOva in Iowa for a recipient cow?
    I have trouble absorbing that one too.

    So I think we’d share some common ground, that these APHIS regulations need to be updated.

    Finally, (I hope) this subdivision threat… I’m a farmer, among other things. So that should lend a bit of weight to my saying that I don’t want to see any ag people put out of business.
    The fact of the matter in these wildlife-rich areas we’re talking about in the GYA, if a ranch does sell they’re not putting in a trailer park. By and large, they’re bought by wealthy folks who value scenery and solitude way more than subdivision. Not to mention, they tend to see wildlife as an asset.
    So what does that leave for us common folk?

    The same things, if you’re willing to expend some calories. A few years back, my son and I were packing out of hunting camp with a friend. It’s easy on the eyes, and at one point Larry says “I wonder what the poor people are doing today?”

    He’s a doctor, too, but right then money was moot.

  46. Bill O'Connell says:

    “Rationality, common sense, civility – I guess I expect too much. The truth would be nice, too. I’d still love to hear it. . .”

    Sounds like a voice of reason to me. Especially given your experience with the issue. I respect your viewpoints.

    The only thing I question is the eradication emphasis. Particularly focusing it on bison, and then elk, and now it turns out…

    You’re right, there’s some downright frightening agendas going. Fortunately, from my standpoint, their credibility just took a major dive. So maybe more reasonable voices will prevail.

  47. moos says:

    Yes, and the eradication of the cattle didn’t help either. I am still chewing on the statement that the latest heifer (the one in Pray) was vaccinated twice. Hmmmmmm. . . The RB51 vaccine is obviously not doing the trick. Now “they” (whoever the heck “they” are) want cows to be vaccinated every year – like a booster. I suppose that if the vaccine worked, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But who will really benefit from these multiple vaccinations? The drug companies, the vets or the animals?

  48. Ann says:

    I agree Karen. It seems like a sham. I don’t see how the rancher nor the cattle can benefit from that. It just seems to me the ‘theys’ aren’t trying to TRUELY find a better vaccine for the mere fact they are ‘comfortable’ with the way things are?
    Look at the Budget ‘they’ get, and how they have squandered it on Bison, instead of really doing something to help the Rancher. The focus is misdirected.
    Like the guy that wrote the letter to the editor in the Billings Gazette yesterday I think. http://billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/06/17/opinion/letters/40-brucella.txt
    They need to study the infected cattle, and see if they too have the antibodies to fight the disease. I also wonder if the double shot didn’t produce a positive in the test. I know the 19 vaccine made for positive tests, as well as gave the cow Brucellosis. It would save money to study a herd of cattle, instead of Bison. Cattle are more comfortable around humans, so the stress levels are way less. Seems to me the ‘Theys’ can’t see for looking, on how to improve the situation.

  49. moos says:

    Ann – you know that I’m in agreement with you. Definitely too many “theys” involved. The “enemy” should be the disease. Where the heck are those “better vaccines”? What happened to “CSI Montana” – getting to the bottom of this? On TV they’d solve this on one, maybe two episodes. Politics trumps science.

  50. Ann says:

    HA HA You’re right Karen. It reminds me of the oil situation we are in right now. Had they started drilling ‘locally’ we wouldn’t be where we are right now. Same as with Brucellosis. Had they been working in a more organized, scientific way, instead of just focusing on Bison, we might not be where we are today. It IS the disease that is the issue, and killing Bison ‘just because’ isn’t going to cut it anymore. I would like Al Nash et. al. explain to me why they didn’t test the Bison they hauled to slaughter. Seems the disease issue may NOT be the issue they are trying to use as the ‘scape-goat’. I’m starting to think the BFC is right, and it isn’t about the disease at all it’s about grass.

  51. Marion says:

    Sadly the folks theat are paying the price for this fiasco have virtually no voice in the whole mess. I cam across this article by Dr. Thorne written in 2004.

    wyagric.state.wy.us/news/brucellosiscoordteam/HistoricReviewUpdate.pdf
    It seems NPS did not recognize brucellosis as an “introduced disease”.

    “Brucellosis-related issues in the 1960s and 1970s were characterized by conflicts, lines
    drawn in the sand, and positions set in concrete!
    Ӣ Most conflict and attention was focused on bison of Yellowstone National Park
    Ӣ National Park Service (YNP) vs. federal and state veterinarians and stock growers
    Ӣ Conflicting mandates between YNP, state livestock health officials, and
    APHIS/Veterinary Services
    Ӣ YNP reacted to previous proposals of depopulation or test and slaughter, did not
    recognize brucellosis as introduced disease, resisted disease management
    Scope of brucellosis in elk as a problem only beginning to be recognized and
    acknowledged in the 1970s
    Ӣ Brucellosis first detected in elk at National Elk Refuge in 1930
    Ӣ Detected at Greys River elk feedground and a couple of other elk feedgrounds in
    the 1940s, but was largely ignored by the Game and Fish Department and state
    and federal livestock health officials
    Ӣ APHIS and State Vet had recognized a persistent brucellosis problem in a small
    cattle herd adjacent to the Greys River (Alpine) feedground
    In the 1970s, G & F began extensive testing at Alpine and NER feedgrounds; less
    extensive testing at other feedgrounds
    ”¢ Brucellosis was consistently present at high prevalence everywhere G & F looked”

  52. Ann says:

    Yes Marion, and so are the Bison. That is why I say work on what ‘you’ control, the cattle. It makes sense to me (not that that is much sense) but they should be studying these cattle herds a little closer. Like Karen said where is our CSI they were talking about last year with the first outbreak? What is taking so long? They think if they ignore it it will go away?