NCBA Commends USDA For Increased Brucella Research
On Wednesday, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a draft policy statement through the Federal Select Agent Program (FSAP) on research with Brucella species in outdoor settings.
United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Animal Health and Identification Committee Chairman Dwight Keller issued the following statement:
“For years, USCA and other animal health leaders have called for the allowance of Brucella research to study vaccine responses to natural infections in cattle, swine, elk, or bison. However, the inclusion of certain Brucella strains on the U.S. Select Agents and Toxins List has severely limited the ability of researchers to perform these kinds of studies. In 1996, the U.S. had 11 facilities capable of performing this type of research – now, there is no such facility capable of studying large mammals in containment while also following proper biosecurity protocols.
“Though certain Brucella strains will remain on the Select Agents list, this recent announcement by USDA APHIS broadens the scope of possibilities by allowing for the consideration of Brucella research in outdoor settings by the Federal Select Agents Program (FSAP), something which multiple state veterinarians and members of USCA’s Animal Health Committee have advocated for. USCA commends USDA APHIS for taking this important first step towards the eradication of brucellosis in domestic animals and wildlife.”
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Simmons said, “This announcement is welcome news for cattle producers that face uncertainty from wildlife, infected with brucellosis threatening the well-being of their animals and operations. Thank you to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Undersecretary Greg Ibach, and their teams, for developing this framework to advance our ability to control and eradicate brucellosis through improved opportunities to study disease transmission between cattle and wildlife. This expanded research is a good first step and NCBA will continue to work with the Trump administration to further protect producers from threats due to brucellosis.”
According to NCBA, USDA’s Cooperative State Federal Brucellosis Eradication Program has made significant progress in eliminating the disease from most of the United States. Brucellosis results in production losses of less than $1 million today, down from a high of $400 million in the 1950s. Yet, continued advances are still needed — endemic Brucella abortus is expanding its range in the Greater Yellowstone area and Brucella suis is being found in feral swine populations throughout various areas of the United States. F
–NCBA and USCA
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