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Cow import regulations set to change

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper — If adopted, regulations currently out for public comment could end the importation of open cows onto Wyoming ranches for breeding purposes. Cows would only be eligible for import to breeding herds if they are bred or have their own calf by their side. The rule doesn’t apply to virgin heifers less than 24 months of age.
    The change is part of the Wyoming Livestock Board’s recently proposed revisions to “Chapter 8 Livestock Import Rules.” Livestock producers and interested parties have until Aug. 18, 2009 to comment on the proposed regulations. Members of the Wyoming Livestock Board are expected to take action on the regulations late August. If approved by the board and the Governor the revised regulations could take affect as early as this fall.
    Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan stresses two aspects of the proposed revisions. First is that they’ll only apply to imported cows, and not those transactions that take place within Wyoming’s borders. Second, open cows destined for feeder channels and eventual slaughter will still be allowed to enter the state.
    At a mid-July meeting in Casper, Logan noted that many surrounding states have adopted similar standards. In the absence of Wyoming having such a rule, he said the state is becoming a more appealing market for those who have open cows to sell. With that, he said, comes an increased disease risk. “We’re trying avoid the importation of trich infected cows into the state,” said Logan.
    Trichomoniasis testing will continue to be required on imported bulls over 30 months of age and non-virgin bulls. A proposed revision is to accept use of the PCR test, but there is some concern that the PCR test is not as reliable as earlier believed. It’s likely that this aspect of the rules will receive board attention when the rules are discussed at their August meeting.
    Using the more traditional method of testing the bull’s reproductive tract, a 70-75 percent detection rate is expected if the organism is present when testing one bull. One test, when conducted on a bull battery of ample size, is more likely to detect the disease if it is present. When testing smaller lots veterinarians often recommend multiple tests to ensure discovery of the costly organism if it’s present.
    Changes to Chapter 8 also enhance the requirements for tuberculosis tests on rodeo animals. According to the rules, such animals must be individually identified and accompanied by proof of a negative test within the past year.
    Attendees at the Aug. 12 Livestock Board listening session to be held in conjunction with the Wyoming State Fair will have an opportunity to comment on the Chapter 8 Rules. Written comments can be submitted to the Wyoming Livestock Board via the mail at 1934 Wyott Drive, Cheyenne WY 82002. Board members are expected to take action on the rules when they meet Aug. 21 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at their Cheyenne offices.
    Jennifer Womack is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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