Volume 105, Number 37 - September 11, 2008
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Brucellosis concerns continue
The long and winding saga has come to a close for a Daniel rancher’s herd that had come up brucellosis-positive earlier this year. But for Wyoming, the process will begin all over again.
“[The rancher] has chosen to depopulate,” State Veterinarian Dr. Walt Cook said. “That was done, basically, by looking at his own herd and his own situation. He thought that would be the best thing for him.”
Had the rancher not chosen depopulation, it would have taken him at least a full year to test out. During that time his herd would have been under quarantine.
“Being under quarantine that whole time would have made it pretty hard to do business,” Cook said.
The rancher will now have to slaughter his herd of 650 head — cultivated over generations. First, he will have his herd appraised by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Once the appraisal value is agreed to, the rancher will send his herd to slaughter. APHIS will then pay the rancher the difference between the agreed upon appraisal value and the slaughter value.
The rancher has 30 days from last Friday to completely depopulate. By depopulating, the rancher was supposed to be saving Wyoming’s brucellosis-free status. However, that status is still in limbo after a new case came up from Nebraska on Friday.
“Friday we got the determination that he’s going to depopulate, and then half an hour later we get this call,” Cook said. Results from a slaughter in Nebraska for an individual cow had come up positive. The animal was then traced back to a ranch in northern Sublette County.
“This is very preliminary at this point,” Cook said. “We don’t want to get too worked up, but this initial trace-back leads to a herd in Sublette County.”
A second herd coming up positive in this short of a time span would strip the state of its brucellosis-free status.
“Now we need to go back,” Cook said.
“We traced it to this herd in Sublette County, and then we’ll need to test that herd.”
It is still possible that the slaughtered cow was a false positive because it was caught during slaughter.
“There’s not really a way to verify things,” Cook said. “There’s just one blood test [at the slaughter].”
So now the state — while it continues to test the remaining contact herds to the original Daniel herd — must begin the process anew. This new rancher will have 30 days for his herd to be tested.
“If it comes up that the whole herd is negative, I think we can at least make the case [for Wyoming to keep its brucellosis-free status],” Cook said.
At least two tests will be required of this new herd: One right away, and then another in a couple of months.
“I know that [the herd] is up in the mountains right now, so it may be a couple of weeks before he gets those down,” Cook said. “We may be in limbo for a while.
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