Schweitzer Stops Importation of Bison into MT

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Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer issued an Executive Order on Tuesday prohibiting the importation of bison into the state of Montana for a period of 90 days.  The order does not prohibit importation into the designated surveillance area (DSA) established by the Department of Livestock.  It does stop the transport of Yellowstone bison into other areas of Montana for processing purposes.  Currently an estimated 525 bison are being held in holding corrals at the Stephens Creek facility near Gardiner.  Of those, 217 have tested positive for exposure to brucellosis.  A federal judge has denied a request to stop the planned processing of the bison.  While the light is currently green for harvesting the animals, an appeal of the judge’s decision is planned.  If possible, processing may be able to take place in other states. 

Governor Schweitzer’s Executive Order:

EXECUTIVE ORDER PROHIBITING THE IMPORTATION OF BISON INTO THE STATE OF MONTANA FOR A PERIOD OF 90 DAYS

WHEREAS, brucellosis is an infectious disease and Yellowstone National Park bison exhibit a brucellosis sero-prevalence rate of approximately 50{b5a992b8e63762954627fabd02ae0ce4cbdce5a7319b086354586c608f95fa42}; and

WHEREAS, the Montana Department of Livestock has adopted a surveillance program that has been highly successful in detecting brucellosis-affected herds and preventing the exportation of diseased livestock from Montana; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States Department of the Interior has recently indicated its intent to transport Yellowstone bison into Montana for slaughter at Montana facilities, which presents an unacceptable risk for the transmission of brucellosis to Montana livestock; and

WHEREAS, Montana legislators and livestock interests have expressed grave concerns that because of the high incidence of brucellosis in Yellowstone National Park bison, the importation of any bison from Yellowstone National Park into Montana presents an unacceptable risk for the transmission of brucellosis to Montana cattle; and


WHEREAS, several pieces of legislation have been introduced in the 2011 Montana Legislature that propose sweeping changes to bison management in Montana; and

WHEREAS, for over ten years management under the current court-ordered Interagency Bison Management Plan has resulted in no reduction in the prevalence of brucellosis in bison, nor has it resulted in a sustainable population control model for Yellowstone bison; and

WHEREAS, under Mont. Code Ann. § 81-2-112, the governor may issue a proclamation prohibiting the importation of diseased animals to Montana.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BRIAN SCHWEITZER, Governor of the State of Montana, by virtue of the authority vested in me pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 81-2-112, do hereby declare a prohibition on the importation of Yellowstone bison into areas of Montana that are outside of the designated surveillance area as designated by the Department of Livestock through administrative rule for a period of 90 days.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Posted by Haylie Shipp

 

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