Printed on: July 10, 2013

Input sought on watched cattle movement permit

By MATT EICHNER
Rexburg Standard Journal

ST. ANTHONY -- The State Department of Agriculture will take comments Thursday night on a proposed permit for moving some cattle outside of the Greater Yellowstone designated brucellosis surveillance area.

That area includes Fremont and Teton counties, the Palisades area of Bonneville County and a small portion of Caribou County in Wyoming.

The permit is for seasonal grazing animals within the surveillance area that are being moved back home, as well as pregnant females older than 18 months, according to Tom Williams, the Idaho Department of Agriculture's eastern Idaho field veterinarian.

Williams said the permits will enable the state to document the movement of cattle in the Greater Yellowstone designated brucellosis surveillance area.

"The reason that they're doing that is to provide documentation that we're aware of the animals and we're testing the animals that move out of the designated surveillance area that need to be tested," Williams said. "(The permits are) to satisfy these other states that are getting cattle from the Greater Yellowstone area. They want some documentation and evidence that we're doing our job and are not going to ship ... infected animals."

There are six cattle herds under quarantine, including two in Idaho and one in Fremont County. Another two herds are in Montana and two in Wyoming.

In Fremont County, the Thursday meeting soliciting permit plan comments starts at 7 p.m. at the County Annex Building in St. Anthony. Written comments will be accepted by the Idaho Department of Agriculture through July 24. Permits are free and can be obtained by calling the Ag Department.

A permit is not needed to move animals to slaughter or into approved markets such as Idaho Falls or the Blackfoot auction, Williams said.

Still, Williams expects complaints from ranchers.

"They're going to think that this is too much Big Brother (government)," he said.