Wyo Livestock Board releases four sets of rules for comment periodWritten by Saige Albert
In a continuing effort to reduce the number of rules livestock producers deal with and consolidate those rules into an easier, more user-friendly format, the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) initiated the process to revise four sets of rules on Jan. 6.
“We are sending out the vet loan repayment program, rabies, bison designated as wildlife, B. ovis and brucellosis rules out for comment,” says Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan. “These changes shouldn’t be very controversial.”
The first rule undergoing changes is Chapter One Rabies Prevention and Post Exposure Management Rules.
The rule revisions are being pursued “to better establish protocols for the post-exposure management of animals that have been exposed to a rabies infected animal and for management of animals that have exposed humans or other animals.”
Because of the reservoir of rabies in Wyoming’s wildlife populations, Logan notes that it is important to clarify minimum quarantine periods for exposed domestic animals.
It also further clarifies involvement of licensed veterinarians in the process.
“This is strictly a state veterinarian rule,” Logan notes, “but I have worked closely with the Wyoming Department of Health in developing these changes.”
Chapter 12 Rules and Regulation Governing Brucella Ovis Certification are also undergoing revisions, and Logan notes that the amendments make updates that are much needed.
“This rule is at least 10 years old, and it needed some scientific updates,” Logan says. “It changes the age at which rams need to be tested from nine months down to six months.”
“The revisions to the rule are intended to update the certification protocols to utilize recent scientific findings so the rule is scientifically sound for the purpose of assuring that ‘certified free flocks are truly free of the disease,’” comments the WLSB.
Because Brucella ovis causes ram epididymitis and infertility in rams, as well as transient infertility in ewes, many states, including Wyoming, require a negative test for the bacteria prior to importation. As an alternative for pre-entry testing, rams can originate from a “certified-free flock.” The rule changes improve the rule by bringing it up-to-date with the latest science.
Chapter 16 of the WLSB rules, Bison Designated as Wildlife, is being presented for repeal to eliminate duplication in rules.
“The primary reason for repealing these rules is because the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and the WLSB already have a very similar joint rule, Chapter 41 Bison Designated As Wildlife, which was recently revised,” says the WLSB. “There is no need for each agency to have a separate rule that addresses the same issues.”
The Vet Loan Repayment Program, governed by Chapter 23, serves to help veterinarians with outstanding educational debt to pay back a percentage of their loans and is undergoing rule revisions to clarify things that need to be done, both by the WLSB and veterinarians.
“The Wyoming Livestock board is proposing to amend the Chapter 23 Veterinary Loan Repayment Rules to better clarify the process for determining “areas of need” or “veterinarian shortage areas,’” reads the statement released by the WLSB. “These changes will provide uniformity between the terminology in the rules and the contract between the veterinarian and the Board.”
Additionally, the changes clarify the responsibilities of the veterinarian to provide a report to the WLSB to account for their services rendered, as well as establishment of licensure and accreditation requirements for those vets participating in the program
Logan encourages producers and veterinarians to review the rules and make comments if they have concerns.
He also notes that the WLSB is currently working on consolidating several other sets of rules and will be releasing those for public comment this year.
On a national level, Logan says that recent proposed changes by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to the Animal Disease Traceability rules are not likely to have major impacts on cattle producers.
“These changes may have some positive impact on the markets, if it goes through,” he adds. “We are still reviewing the rules, and I will make comments, but we have some time before comments are due on those.”