The Montana Department of Livestock no longer requires that female cattle imported into Montana be vaccinated against brucellosis, according to a Feb. 17 announcement.
The rule change became effective late last December after a 30-day public comment period and two public meetings.
After detecting two Montana herds affected with brucellosis late last year, state veterinarian Marty Zaluski acknowledged that now might seem like a strange time to lift this requirement. However, he said this change fits with the state's regional approach for managing the disease in cattle.
"We've spent the last six years proving that the risk of brucellosis is limited to areas with infected wildlife in the Greater Yellowstone Area," Zaluski said.
The department notes that the rule is no longer necessary for much of the nation, which was declared Brucellosis Class Free in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The support for this change from the livestock community was widespread and included veterinarians, market owners, feedlot operators and ranchers.
"We were pleased that people took the time to provide us feedback on this proposed change," Zaluski said. "They wanted fewer hoops to jump through when importing cattle."
Additional regulations make the costs of ranching greater, Zaluski added, and if those additional requirements do not protect Montana, then they should be reviewed and eliminated if possible.
Sexually intact female cattle traveling from states that have been brucellosis free for 10 years or more will no longer need to be vaccinated before traveling to Montana, the announcement said.
Brucellosis vaccination is required in the four Montana counties of Beaverhead, Gallatin, Madison and Park where brucellosis exists in wildlife.