Idaho loses brucellosis-free status
By Scott McMillion
LIVINGSTON -- Idaho has become the second state in the northern Rockies to lose its brucellosis-free status.
Wyoming lost its status in 2004.
In both cases, diseased cattle were found in areas close to elk feedgrounds, and elk are considered the likely source of the disease in the infected cattle herds.
The Idaho Department of Agriculture announced this week that the state has lost its brucellosis-free status.
That means that all cattle being exported must be tested for the disease, if they are sexually intact and over 18 months old.
Steers and spayed heifers don't need to be tested. Nor does any animal being shipped directly to slaughter.
Tests cost about $5 per animal in veterinary fees, and in some states there is an additional laboratory fee.
But losing the status generates other expenses, according to Donal O'Toole, of the Wyoming state veterinary lab.
Waiting for test results forces costly delays, he told the Wyoming Extension Service in a Jan. 4 article. He said the number of tests done by his lab has grown from 46,000 a year to 160,000.
Idaho gained brucellosis-free status in 1991. Wyoming obtained it 1985.