R-CALF USA is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep brucellosis vaccination and surveillance programs in place across the nation. If fact, R-CALF wants USDA to expand the brucellosis surveillance program in all other states where cattle are present, but no formal testing program is in place. R-CALF says this program can be paid for with funds derived from the National Animal Identification System.
"There are a number of states that have just stopped any kind of brucellosis testing, which in my opinion, is not very forward-thinking because brucellosis certainly isn't going to disappear just because surveillance stops," said R-CALF USA President Max Thornsberry, a Missouri veterinarian, who also chairs the group's animal health committee. "USDA keeps cutting back on money for brucellosis testing, yet continues to sink millions and millions of taxpayer dollars into NAIS, trying to force NAIS down our throats. Well, NAIS is not going to keep a cattle producer from losing his herd if those cattle get brucella. NAIS is not going to reduce the need to test for brucellosis. The disease will eventually show up, as it has in Montana and Wyoming, and if USDA doesn't test for it, how will a producer know they have it until it's too late?"
Brucellosis was recently discovered in a cow near Paradise Valley, Montana and in cattle from a Daniel, Wyoming ranch. Since 1956 124-thousand affected herds have been identified in the United States as a result of testing. By 1992 the number had dropped to 700, and as of October 31, 2006, no know affected domestic cattle or bison herds remained in the U.S.