Friday, February 26, 2010

State vet pushes for brucellosis vaccinations

Montana’s state veterinarian is pushing for brucellosis vaccinations for all sexually intact female calves, arguing that the move is necessary to control disease and keep Big Sky cattle marketable. Veterinarian Marty Zaluski told producers gathered at Billings’ Public Auction Yards that mandatory statewide vaccination would bring Montana in line with measures already taken in Wyoming and Idaho. Ranchers in the three states have been harmed by instances of brucellosis in cattle in recent years. The disease is carried by elk and bison in the Greater Yellowstone Area and can cause cows to miscarry. The federal government is now crafting a new brucellosis management policy. Ranchers have balked at vaccinating all heifers between the ages of 4 months to a year, arguing the $5 shot isn’t needed for young females raised for food. Members of two of Montana’s largest livestock groups, the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Montana Farm Bureau Federation, have formalized policies officially opposing the vaccination of all sexually intact female calves because they think it’s unnecessary. The Farm Bureau supports vaccinating only breeding heifers and heifers imported to Montana for that more

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