Public comment on proposed trichomoniasis rule extended to Dec. 24

The Montana Department of Livestock is accepting public comment on proposed rule changes for Trichomoniasis through December 24.
The rule governs testing requirements for the disease, which can cause economically devastating reproductive losses in cattle, before cattle can be imported, sold, loaned or leased. The proposed rule changes also make violations a misdemeanor subject to a fine of up to $500 plus investigation expenses, said assistant state veterinarian Dr. Jeanne Rankin.

One PCR test or three negative weekly culture tests would be acceptable before import, sale, loan or lease, Rankin said, although other testing may be used by the herd owner and veterinarian for herd health screening. Test results will be valid for 90 days rather than the current 30-day limit as long as animals don’t co-mingle. The extra allows ranchers and veterinarians greater flexibility in selling test-negative bulls.

Non-virgin bulls cannot be sold for breeding without a negative test, Rankin said. If non-tested bulls are sold or leased into the state’s breeding herd in violation of Montana law, owners will be allowed the option of selling bulls to slaughter or paying to test them, but will be subject to fine, investigation expenses and/or a misdemeanor.

The proposed changes also outlines how quarantines on positive herds will be placed and released. It also describes movement restrictions on different ages and genders of cattle and testing requirements on bulls.

New to the rule is the requirement of annual testing of all non-virgin bulls on grazing associations with multiple permitees. In such situations, tests will be considered valid for up to 10 months as long as no co-mingling with female cattle occurs due to the fact that no change of ownership has occurred, and that these bulls will go back into the same environment year after year.

The proposed order was written after a series of 10 town hall meetings held by MDOL earlier this year to discuss the need for changes to current Trichomoniasis rules.

Comments on the proposed order, which can be viewed and/or downloaded at http://liv.mt.gov/liv/public/arm/32-9-198pro-arm%20_2_.pdf, will be accepted through December 24, and can be submitted via U.S. Postal mail at Trich Comments, Montana Department of Livestock, Helena MT, 59620-2001or via email at jrankin@mt.gov.

Trichomoniasis is a disease of the reproductive tract that causes 25-50% pregnancy loss in positive herds. The state’s rule requires testing of all bulls of breeding age, 24 months or older, before they can be bought, loaned, imported or used in breeding.

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