WLSB discusses brucellosis, import rules and livestock identification
At the Oct. 24 Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) meeting, the agency’s Chapter 8 and Chapter 17 rules took high priority on the agenda, as well as an update on the recent brucellosis activity in Park County.
The Chapter 8 livestock import rules, which have been out for public comment, will now go back out for comment after being revised based on the comments that have been received.
“We’re working to get those revisions typed in, and then it will go back to the Governor’s office with request to go out for public comment again,” says Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan.
One of the revisions replaces the equine interstate movement permit. Although it’s only been requested once, it’s been put back in the rules as it was originally written.
There are also changes to the identification requirements for tuberculosis in the cattle and bison section.
“If cattle or bison come from a foreign country, they’d be required to have and maintain the country of origin official identification,” says Logan. “Many tuberculosis-tested Mexican cattle come into this country and then their tags are removed and there’s no good way to track them, so if people do that those cattle won’t be allowed to come into Wyoming.”
There is also an exception on the requirement for an official Certificate of Veterinary Inspection if the animals are being imported from adjacent states to a licensed vet in the state for treatment, testing or diagnosis.
“They could come in without a certificate, as long as they were going directly to the veterinarian and directly back to the state of origin, which would still require a brand inspection to leave Wyoming,” explains Logan.
During the meeting the board also discussed the proposed APHIS traceability rule, and they reviewed the comments Logan had drafted to send to the federal agency.
“They had some additions, including comments on the economic impact to the industry and a request to maintain brands as a method of official identification,” notes Logan.
The board passed two motions – one opposing the traceability rule, but suggesting that APHIS provide it as a guidance document to the state to develop their own identification and traceability programs. The other opposed the removal of brands and tattoos from the definition of identification in the proposed rule.
After the board reviews the revisions to the comments they’ll be sent to APHIS, which has a comment deadline of Dec. 9. To submit your own comments on the rule, visit regulations.gov.
In his update on brucellosis in Park County, Logan says he told the board that every operation that was under quarantine has been released, with the exception of the new cattle herd found about a month ago, and the bison herd can’t yet be released from quarantine.
Because the positive animals in the most recent cases of brucellosis were under 18 months of age, Logan says the board did discuss the potential for future revisions of the Chapter 2 brucellosis rules, potentially moving testing requirements back to 12 months of age, depending on public comment and sound science.
Draft changes to Chapter 17 were also reviewed, which have to do with the issue and use of in-state range movement permits. Logan says the reason for those changes is to bring the rules into accordance with recent statutory changes.
Of the legislation discussed at their last board meeting and in the meeting of the Joint Ag Committee in Afton in late September, Logan says the WLSB is still in the process of drafting some changes to the state livestock identification and indemnity payments bills.
WLSB Director Leanne Stevenson says the state agency’s budget was also discussed.
“We’re waiting to see the Governor’s budget when it comes out,” she says, noting that it’s traditionally released around Dec. 1. “Until that point we won’t know what will go on with our budget, so we’re in a holding pattern unitl then. Sometime after that we’ll meet with the Joint Appropriations Committee to justify and defend our requests, as well.”
Stevenson says the biggest push with this year’s budget is the effort to get the WLSB fully computerized.
“We do have the support of the current Governor for computerization, and the technology department and the Office of the Chief Information Officer has made a push for getting all of the state of Wyoming technologically up to speed,” she comments.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.