From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 8, Number 17 - July 17, 2008
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Daniel Rancher Opts To Test Out
Depopulation wouldn’t cancel brucellosis risks
by Joy Ufford

The Daniel-area cattle producer with a brucellosis-infected herd told officials Tuesday he wants to “test out” rather than depopulate, or slaughter, his herd.

Wyoming State Vet Walt Cook said he met with the producer, his family and their attorney Tuesday, along with Bret Combs of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS).

“At this time the producer is planning to test out and not depopulate his herd,” Cook confirmed Wednesday. “The producer has an attorney, but I do not believe they are considering fighting it at this point. They are just making sure he is fully aware of all his legal options.”

Testing out involves continued “bleeding” of the producer’s breeding-aged cattle and removal of only those animals whose seroprevalence returns as “positive.” The procedure will be carried out numerous times until the herd is“ clean.”

Of more than 650 commercial and purebred cattle whose blood was tested at the state vet labs, a total of 29 tested “seropositive” for brucellosis, including the initial two first raising flags at a Wyoming sale barnwhere routine testing took place. All of the cattle were vaccinated against brucellosis with RB51, which is administered by veterinarians.

“I believe that we will be doing a second test on some of the herd owner’s cattle (not sure how many) on either Monday or Tuesday of next week,” said Assistant State Vet Jim Logan on Wednesday.

In the mean time, two contact herds have been tested with 10 to go including a domestic bison herd, Cook said. A third opted to spay their heifer yearlings Tuesday, he added.

“Since they’re spayed now they don’t have to be (blood) tested,” Cook explained.

Cook said the producer’s reasons to test out include the economics and outcomes of slaughtering his herd as well as hisc oncerns bringing in new cattle will not reduce potential brucellosis transmission risks in an area with infected wildlife.

“It’s not a final answer but he’s sure indicated he’s more interested in going through this testing procedure,” Cooks aid.

Combs stated earlier APHIS had enough money to pay the producer for his livestock if he depopulated but the reimbursement formula apparently changes if he doesn’t slaughter his herd.

“APHIS is not withdrawing its offer to pay indemnity–but the payment per head is calculated quite differently for a producer who depopulates vs. one who just removes reactor cattle,” Cook said. “Since this is an APHIS indemnity and quite involved, you should talk to someone there.

Combs was out of the office Wednesday.

The possibility the Wyoming Livestock Board can reimburse the rancher is slim to none, according to Cook.

“WLSB has no money to even think about buying his cattle,” Cook said. “We helped with fencing costs using funds wed on’t have; we simply can not do anymore.”

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