Volume 6, Number 22 - August 24, 2006
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Cattle case fallout continues
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association board recently sent a letter to the Wyoming Livestock Board to express its concerns with the board, its programs and “recent events that have attracted widespread scrutiny.”
The letter cited the shortfall in the brand program budget,the handling of the elk/cattle commingling event at the Taylor Ranch in Teton County and the failure to complete formal adoption of amended Chapter 8 Import Rules.
The Chapter 8 failure was recently revealed when Sublette County Attorney Ralph Boynton attempted to put together a case against a Utah livestock broker for arranging the import of 16 loads of unsprayed and unvaccinated heifers into Sublette County. It was at that point that it was revealed that deficiencies existed in the state’s import rules, and that WLB had known about the issue for a number of years, yet no action to correct the problem had been taken.
The WSGA letter noted it was being sent on behalf of the entire WSGA officer team, and stated: “As leaders of the state’s cattle association, we feel compelled to express our grave concern with the operation of the livestock board programs in the recent past. We believe that the record reflects a lack of accountability on the part of key staff as well as an inadequate level of involvement by the board.”
The letter continued: “As one example, we cite the failure of the board to follow up on the Chapter 8 rules which were referred to staff for additional work in February of 2005. This performance has fostered controversy within our industry. More importantly, it has created doubt in the minds of the public and key political leaders regarding the ability of our industry to independently administer our brand, animal health and law enforcement programs.”
The letter said: “WSGA believes that the board has both the opportunity and the obligation to address these serious issues. ... We urge you to take whatever bold steps are necessary to restore accountability and confidence to all WLB programs.” The letter was sent to WLB Chairman Dale Micheli of Fort Bridger, who did not return the Examiner’s telephone call requesting comment prior to press time.
Although Boynton said that he couldn’t file a case against the Utah cattle broker, he pledged to local cattlemen in mid-July to make a decision about whether to charge the truckers who drove the loads into Sublette County. In an interview about a week later, Boynton said he would file charges against the truckers. Boynton could not be contacted prior to press time for an update on the situation.
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